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Most e-visas are just online forms, survey shows

Most e-visas are just online forms, survey shows

Electronic visas have been hailed across the world as a solution that increases efficiency and security. But according to new research, an overwhelming majority of e-visa systems do not take advantage of technologies like biometric matching, document scanning and validation, watchlist comparison, or even e-visa management. Instead, most e-visas systems are little more than an online visa application portal and do little to help the work of immigration authorities, an analysis from Travizory Border Security has revealed.

The Swiss border technology company analyzed visa systems of 75 countries across Latin America, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

The research found that almost all (96 percent) countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region rely on manual visa processing. No end-to-end e-visa system exists in the region.

Travelers are still required to print out their electronic visas and present them to border authorities in India as well as in the vast majority of African countries that implemented e-visas, including South Africa. Many other countries were found to still rely on stickers and stamps.

Travizory Border Security, which makes end-to-end e-visa systems, argues that governments are missing out on the full benefits of digital visas. End-to-end systems can eliminate paperwork and replace it with digital travel credentials (DTC) linked to passports and relying on biometrics, reducing the risk of falsified or tampered visas, the company says.

“It is clear that governments are recognizing the significant benefits that come with digitalization and Travizory stands ready to support countries on their journey,” Jorge Ramirez, managing director for Americas at Travizory Border Security. “It is unfortunate that so many great destinations are reliant on half-baked systems that only digitize the visa application and don’t go far enough to fully transform the end-to-end visa process.”

One of the largest projects for introducing e-visas is the European Union’s Visa Information System (VIS) platform which will require the collection of fingerprint and face biometrics for first-time applicants. Last week, the European Council voted to adopt regulations on the system which may become available as early as 2025.

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