E-visas emerge as a magnet for global travellers

Saturday February 29 2020

Travellers can apply for their e-visa from wherever they are. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

Travellers can apply for their e-visa from wherever they are. PHOTO | FILE | NMG 

PAULINE KAIRU
By PAULINE KAIRU
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E-visas (electronic visas) have become the preferred method of travel authorisation for the time-starved modern-day traveller, who is leveraging the digital age.

E-visa applications, which can be accessed remotely on either a laptop or mobile phone have grown in the face of advances in technology and high speed internet connectivity, allowing for ‘’armchair booking’’ of not just visas, but flights, hotels and tours too.

According to Jiten Vyas of Visa Facilitation Services (VSF), one of the global companies with a full end-to-end e-visa solution for governments, online visa acquisition is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

“The e-visa is emerging as a convenient and revolutionary service in travel as it now offers the customer unmatched convenience of applying for their visa from wherever they are,” said Vyas.

The digital era has enabled travellers to make decisions faster, with the help of tools and apps, saving on time and effort spent on visits to the consulate or embassy in person; one can also track their application status online, and for those who are applying for a visa on arrival, it has reduced waiting time at airports.

Airports around the world are upgrading their systems to offer biometric check-in for travellers. Today, 44 countries around the world offer e-visas or some form of electronic visa solution for travellers. VFS Global has 3,425 application centres, around the globe, including one in Kenya and is a partner of 64 governments.

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“More and more governments are looking into a solution that transforms the traditional offline visa application process into a digital visa model. While one part of the application process can be fully digitised, the biometric enrolment will still happen at a nearby visa application centre. This is primarily because physical enrolment of biometrics continues to be an important aspect of border control norms today,” said VFS’s Vyas.