Besides finding the best deals for flights and hotels and carefully selecting your items to carry along, you may have to apply for a Visa before setting off.
Let's see how modern border control and visa management can transform your travel experience.
Travel experience counts
If you need to apply for a visa before departure, you will most likely have to go to the country's embassy or consulate or a visa application centre. It may also require mailing your passport to a consulate office. And you might be concerned about letting your passport out of your immediate possession as it is an essential document for identification and there's always a risk of loss.
This process can be quite a hassle for travellers, especially when the embassy or application centre is far away!
More and more countries have put in place an electronic visa (e-Visa or eVisa) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) and visa upon arrival to simplify the application process and increase security.
Before we move on, let's refresh our memories with a few definitions to make sure we know what we are talking about.
What is an eVisa?
eVisa: An electronic visa (e-Visa or eVisa) is an entry requirement performed online, stored in a computer and linked to the passport number used for the request. It simplifies the visa-issuance process as there is no label, sticker or stamp to be placed in the passport before travel. The application is fully processed over the internet.
What is an eTA?
eTA: an electronic travel authorization or eTA is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to or transiting to a country, usually by air. It allows the destination or transit country to screen travellers before they arrive, increasing visibility and security.
One of the most well-known eTA systems is the ESTA online service for travellers who wish to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. These travellers have to apply for authorization.
ETIAS is the European counterpart of the American ESTA. It's a simple online form for entry of passport data and payment of a tax costing a few euros for three years.
ETIAS is expected to be in place for 1 January 2021. A visa will cost 7 euros for a validity of 3 years. Much cheaper than ESTA.
what is a VOA?
Visa on Arrival: also known as VOA, it is granted at a port of entry, in most cases after an online pre-approval process. This process is different from not requiring a visa at all, as the traveller must still obtain the visa through immigration before he can enter the destination country.
For VOA countries, there is usually an expedited process for visa applicants who have been accepted or pre-accepted through an online process. Travellers can benefit from special lines set up for those with an electronic visa to get through the immigration procedure more swiftly. This process can save a considerable amount of time, perhaps even hours.
In our recent dossier on eVisa portal, we explain the benefits of pre-travel authorization in terms of convenience and risk management. We also detail the three major factors behind the success of an eVisa project.
How to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Applying for an eTA is an easy online process.
Applicants will need a valid passport, a credit card, and an email and can get their eTA approval via an email.
The application is then stored and linked to the applicant's passport number. All visa records are stored in a database that enables online checking of visa details by visa holders, registered country's organizations and airline staff.
There is no need to physically present yourself or your travel document and receive a visa sticker. The application is entirely performed over the internet in just a few clicks and provides advance permission to visit the country.
New biometric online verification process from Thales
To verify the applicant's identity online, Thales proposes an online ID Verification system that automatically verifies electronic and physical security features of identity documents.
This ID verification software combined with biometric identification allows us to ensure that the document bearer is the rightful owner and is entitled to apply for a visa.
The process is described in the video above.
A proven framework with Thales' Visa Management
Did you know that the world's largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide is using over ten Visa Management systems to serve over 1,000 visa application centres located in over 100 countries across five continents?
Time to find out more
Several countries have already streamlined and simplified their visa application process. If you are interested in joining them, it's time to talk to Thales about the journey to eVisa.