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VFS Global clarifies on SL E-Visa system amidst the Govt’s action against protester at BIA

By: Staff Writer

May 07, Colombo (LNW): VFS Global, which styles itself as the world’s leading outsourcing and technology service specialist, dismissed security and cost concerns and described the new electronic visa processing arrangement in Sri Lanka as progressive.

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 and 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.

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. 

“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.”

Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles says that action will be taken against the person who had caused a disturbance recently in the visa issuance section at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake.

The minister said that action will also be taken against the officers who had recorded the incident in question. 

He stated that the issue of visa fees was also part of the adopted proposal, and that even though it was passed in November, it was not possible to implement the change through the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system and therefore they had to wait until April 17 to implement it through the VFS system.

The Minister further stated that due to the issues with ETA system, they had proceeded with changing the system.

He further said: “The talk was only about the USD 75, which means a 6-month visa, a double entry visa. But there was a small mistake on our end. Our 50-day visa was USD 30.

He said that he passed the 50-day visa along with the resident visa. It will be in the system from tomorrow onwards. For 30 days single entry visa is USD 50.”

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