VFS Global, the company at the center of controversy surrounding the issuance of on arrival visa at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), has issued a statement today in response to accusations and to clarify certain concerns which have been raised.

VFS Global said it has been operating in Sri Lanka since 2004 and has been facilitating the visa application process for 23 governments including the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Schengen countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Austria, Latvia, Hungary, Croatia, Malta, and Greece.       

VFS Global said it operates six visa centres located in Colombo and Jaffna and employs over 123 Sri Lankan nationals. Since 2004, VFS Global Sri Lanka has processed over 3.2 million applications, it said.

The Department of Immigration & Emigration (DI&E) signed a tripartite contract with GBS Technology Services & IVS Global FZCO being the prime contractor and VFS Global being the technology partner for the Sri Lanka government’s new E-Visa solution. www.srilankaevisa.lk.

VFS Global said it manages non-judgmental and administrative tasks related to the application process only. The decision to grant or reject the visa is at the sole discretion of the Department of Immigration and Emigration, it pointed out.

It currently employs a total of 66 Sri Lankan nationals and the number is expected to increase to over 100 Sri Lankan nationals shortly. 

VFS Global says it has experience offering its digital E-Visa platform to 12 governments including Thailand, Dubai, Equatorial Guinea, Azerbaijan, and Suriname, amongst others. 

As part of the digital transformation and modernisation of the visa system, the government of Sri Lanka decided to adopt VFS Global’s digital platform for its E-Visa and Visa-on-Arrival process. The objective is to make the process seamless to aid increased tourism and investment opportunities. 

Travellers (visa applicants) can choose from 17 non-resident visa categories ranging from one month to 10 years. The process is online, which brings convenience to applicants. Additionally, travellers can use the dedicated contact centre that provides 24/7 support in five languages namely English, Tamil, Russian, Mandarin/Cantonese and German. This will be expanded to other languages based on the requirement, it said. 

“The solution is offered through a user-pay model, at no cost to the government. All investments related to technology, infrastructure and staff are borne by the company.” 

“The total service fee approved by the Cabinet is US$ 18.50 across all visa categories. Payment processing charges and applicable local taxes are in addition to the service fee.”

“The government benefits from increased efficiencies and transparency in managing the complete process and improved resource utilization,” the statement added.





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