Section 1 – Introduction to Visa Challenges
A visa is an official mark or stamp on a passport that allows someone to enter or leave a country usually for a particular reason . Historically, immigration officials would grant a visa when a visitor arrived in a foreign country, but today, a traveler wishing to enter another country must apply for a visa in advance. This causes numerous challenges for both civilians and government officials all over the world.
The first obvious disadvantage of applying for or issuing a visa is the time required to process the application. Under normal circumstances, a traveler seeking to apply for a visa would need to fill out the necessary paperwork and then either mail or hand deliver the paperwork to the desired nation’s local embassy or consulate. After this time-consuming procedure, the embassy will process the documents and then mail the visa back to the applicant if approved. As a result, the life cycle of receiving a visa could take anywhere from two weeks to two months. This can be very costly and time consuming for immigration officials and can cause problems if a traveler needs to apply for a visa last minute.
Another obstacle travelers and officials face is the lack of infrastructure and personnel available. Many developing nations are simply not equipped with the proper personnel, technology and infrastructure needed to issue these documents in a timely and efficient manner without compromising safety or security. Long queues build up at immigration desks at airports, embassies and consulates, further increasing the document process time. This increased workload for the immigration staff can hinder their ability to work efficiently and securely.
Governments should look to improve their immigration processes, starting with the system for issuing visas. Many of the challenges caused by the visa application process can be overcome by simply transitioning to an electronic visa system, which streamlines the process and ensures accountability for both governments and travelers. By transitioning to an electronic visa system, governments will improve and ease the process of applying for a visa, which can lead to a multitude of benefits for the country.
For example, a country such as Honduras could benefit greatly from implementing an electronic visa system. Honduras, located in Central America, is home to some of the world’s best beaches, coral reefs and diving locations in addition to the world famous Mayan city of Copan and Rio Platano Biosphere. These attractions make Honduras a great location for travelers who wish to experience the wonders of Central America. However, the long process for applying for a visa can be a major deterrent to tourism in the country. Just recently, the Honduran government has made tourism a national priority, believing that the tourism industry will not only benefit the country by stimulating the economy, but also by strengthening the national identity, increasing development and providing Hondurans with a higher standard of living.
By implementing an electronic visa system, like Securiport’s eVisa Management System, countries, such as Honduras, could save time and money by operating more efficiently to improve the way they communicate and engage with citizens. By addressing key challenges and streamlining the process it takes to apply and receive a visa, the number of total visa applications and number of visitors will inevitably increase, improving revenue generated from tourism. Government officials, business travelers, and tourists alike will benefit from a more convenient and efficient visa application process.
Section 2 – Features and Benefits of the eVisa System
Securiport’s eVisa Management System is a modern, comprehensive ICAO-compliant system that provides travelers with a quick, convenient and completely secure way to apply for a visa. It can be easily integrated and deployed to preexisting visa procedures and systems such as national centers and consulates, providing immediate support to immigration officials.
Securiport’s software engineers and cyber security professionals have invested a substantial amount of time and resources into developing an absolutely secure system. When dealing with such sensitive information, it is imperative that proper research and precautions regarding security are taken. Securiport’s advanced proprietary systems and superior cyber security methods ensure that both travelers and government officials can use the eVisa Management System with full confidence.
The system provides travelers with a secure application portal, which can be accessed at any time of day from virtually anywhere in the world via a web browser. This innovative system provides a multitude of benefits for both travelers and governments by providing an alternate method of applying for a visa. Not only does this new, virtual application method save government officials time and money by decreasing employee workloads and reducing lines at consulates and embassies, but it allows travelers to apply for a visa up to one day before travelling. This timeframe is a massive improvement over the current, erratic method that could leave travelers waiting two months for a visa. There are many different circumstances in which someone may need to travel without an extended notice, and this new system will allow travelers to do so with ease. The eVisa system also provides travelers with an alternate application method if they are unable to mail in or hand deliver their application to the appropriate consulate or embassy.
The eVisa Management System utilizes Securiport’s secure application portal, which can be accessed from any browser-based system. This includes, but is not limited to: computers, tablets, smart phones and kiosks conveniently located at consulates, embassies and immigration checkpoints. The system includes real-time background checks and watch-list vetting against national security and INTERPOL databases for all applicants and leverages Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management System (IIMS), which creates intelligent information reports based on traveler information and statistical data. The system is linked to a central visa database through a secure Internet connection and provides governments and immigration officials with the proper data and information needed to confirm a traveler’s identity with confidence at each stage of the immigration process.
The eVisa Management System also pairs perfectly with Securiport’s Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS), which empowers border management and immigration officers by utilizing advanced biometric identification systems and providing proprietary intelligent information used to identify potential security risks and criminal activity. This can be very beneficial for countries such as Honduras, who are working towards improving the country’s tourism. By integrating these advanced security solutions, countries will be communicating to the world that they are taking an active role in enhancing traveler safety by investing into advanced security solutions for immigration ports.
Securiport’s eVisa Management System is more timely, cost-effective, and efficient than the current application process. By saving travelers’ time and eliminating many of the hassles associated with obtaining a visa today, the system streamlines the visa application process, and inevitably increases the amount of visitors to countries, helping international business and boosting local economies.
Section 3 – Details and Applications of eVisa Technology
Securiport’s eVisa Management System provides travelers with a web-based application portal that offers a quick, convenient, and secure way to apply for a visa. The system can be easily integrated and deployed to preexisting visa procedures and systems such as national centers and consulates. The traveler’s sole task is to fill out the application and submit a payment. Once an application and payment have been submitted, the applicant’s information is submitted to the IICS for background validation and vetted against IIMS Profiles to detect a Person of Interest. The applicant is compared against local watch lists, INTERPOL Notices and Stolen & Lost Travel Documents, as well as all previous traveler data.
Once the applicant’s information has been processed and crosschecked, they will receive a notification depending on whether the application was approved or rejected. If the application is approved, an attachment will be sent with the notification that must be shown on arrival. On arrival, the Immigration Workstation Application provides the immigration official with an extremely easy-to-use interface to process the traveler. The immigration official scans the barcode of the attachment, which is then sent to the server for validation. If successfully validated, the immigration official will continue the immigration process and begin to capture the traveler’s biometric information. The biometrics are stored with the traveler’s visa and immigration record and are validated when the travelers enter or leave the country. All of the traveler data and information collected is stored securely in Securiport’s IICS servers.
Travelers who arrive to a country without a visa can utilize either the automated eVisa kiosks or the eVisa Application that is integrated with the Immigration Workstation Application to submit their information, biometrics and payment. All the information submitted is sent to the IICS and IIMS servers for validation and once complete, the approved visa is printed and the traveler is directed to immigration processing.
eVisa applications can also be configured to be manually approved or rejected. Once the background validation has been completed, the application is ready for manual approval or rejection via the Visa Review Application. If approved, a notification is sent to the traveler with an attachment for them to provide on arrival. If the application is rejected, a notification is sent to the traveler informing them a visa cannot be issued and to contact the embassy or consulate for guidance. If more information is needed, a notification is sent to the traveler requesting them to update their application with the specific information needed.
Section 4 – Strategic Benefits to Governments
With an increase in the demand for international travel in our evolving global marketplace, it is necessary to have an efficient and effective system that simplifies the visa application process. Utilizing an eVisa system such as Securiport’s eVisa Management System, governments can prevent excessive hours waiting at visa desks, reduce the workload of staff working at airports, embassies and consulates, and provide easier facilitation for tourists and business travelers. By reducing the time and money it takes to apply for and issue visas, governments can only expect to see an increase in visa applications as well as the number of visitors, tourism and foreign trade revenue.
Just recently, the Turkish government launched an e-Visa application system similar to Securiport’s eVisa Management System. Just weeks after implementing the e-Visa system, the Turkish government saw an increase in visa applications, going from a weekly average of 400 applications to receiving more than 1,500 in just a few days . The Turkish government hopes to develop and improve Turkey’s tourism and increase foreign trade with this eVisa reformation.
By utilizing Securiport’s eVisa Management System that leverages their Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS) and Intelligent Information Management System (IIMS), governments and immigration officials can equip themselves with the actionable data and information needed to confirm a traveler’s identity at ports of entry and exit as well as at each stage of the immigration process. And with dynamic configurations, government officials can issue and manage any number of visa types required by their country.
Section 5 – Summary and Conclusion
Governments can derive great benefit from updating visa and immigration processes to leverage new technology that provides enhanced security and improved efficiency. Currently, the visa application process takes time, money and a high workload of the staff at airports, immigration checkpoints, embassies and consulates. Additionally, the time constraints of the current application process create multiple challenges and roadblocks for travelers who may need to apply for a visa very quickly.
Securiport’s eVisa Management System can help governments, such as Honduras, better serve citizens and solve these challenges. By transitioning to an eVisa Management System, governments will be able to provide travelers with a quick and convenient way to apply for a visa and initiate their travel to the country while ensuring absolute security of sensitive information. By simplifying the visa application process, governments can expect the volume of visa applications and visitors will inevitably increase, further increasing the revenue generated from tourism. In addition, by implementing these advanced security solutions, governments will be showcasing to the rest of the world that they are invested in improving their security and immigration processes.
With the ability to seamlessly integrate with preexisting visa procedures or systems, as well as Securiport’s Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS), the eVisa Management System provides governments and immigration officials with the necessary traveler data and information needed to confirm the traveler’s identity throughout the immigration process. This innovative system creates safer travels and a more secure nation that when coupled with Securiport’s IICS and IIMS; provide a complete immigration control system that is tailored to provide benefits to both travelers and governments.