VFS Global 

The visa services provider reported strong growth in 2015. Turnover went up to CHF 316.5 million (2014: CHF 270.8 million). Organic growth came to 23.3%. By the end of 2015, the number of full-time positions (FTE) was 3,561, an increase of 18.3% on the previous year.

In May 2015 we reached the milestone of 100 million visa applications processed since the founding of VFS Global in 2001.

Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global (and CEO of Kuoni Group since November 2015)

VFS Global is the market leader for industry-specific solutions in the area of visa applications, consular and citizen services and identity management.

On 31 December 2015, VFS Global was operating 1,916 application centres in 123 countries for 48 governments. 430 new application centres were launched during the 2015 financial year. The governments of Brazil and Latvia were signed up as new customers for visa application processing. New operational services were launched in Myanmar, Poland, Surinam and Uzbekistan. In the citizen services business, VFS Global entered into a global partnership with Ghanaʼs National Identity Authority to open a centre for the identification and registration of foreigners in Ghana.

In 2015 VFS Global processed 20.1 million applications around
the world

As at 31 December 2015, 1,916 application centres were operating in 123 countries

430 new application centres were opened in 2015, an average of
1.2 every day

VFS Global is a trusted partner to governments, their diplomatic missions and official bodies. On their behalf VFS Global manages administrative processes for visa and passport applications and provides identification management and citizen services (e.g. birth and death certificates, land registry entries, planning applications).

In 2015 VFS Global processed 20.1 million applications, which is a 10% rise on the 18.2 million applications processed in 2014. The key source markets were India, China, Russia and the Ukraine. India accounted for 35% of all applications. The greatest numbers of applications were for visas for the USA, UK, Canada, Spain and India.

Application Centre in Shanghai

VFS Globalʼs largest application centre was opened in Shanghai in August 2015. With a floor space of 8,500 square meters the centre offers and executes services for 20 governments. The centre has 173 counters for applications, 57 cabins for biometric recording and 1,600 seats for applicants.

The biggest application centre in South Asia was opened in New Delhi in December 2015. Services for 31 governments are provided in a 6,200 square meter facility. The centre has space for 153 counters. More than 12,000 applications can be accepted and processed each day.

VFS Global does not make judgements and decisions about applications. The company provides administrative help to governments and authorities so they can focus on assessing applications and making the final decisions. VFS Global uses state-of-the-art technology to ensure seamless service and highly secure processing of applications.

An On-Demand Mobile Visa Service was introduced for the UK government in China. Through this service, VFS Global will travel to any location in mainland China to accept visa applications from applicants at their doorstep, so they donʼt have to travel to one of VFS Globalʼs twelve fixed visa application centres in the country. This service can be availed of by individuals or larger groups.

Automatic visa kiosk

The latest generation of fully automatic visa kiosks have been launched in a pilot project in Mumbai, India. These allow customers to submit their applications, biometric data, photos and payments on their own at the visa kiosk. The kiosks are VFS Globalʼs response to the increasing demand for automated “self-service” application facilities. Visa kiosks are currently being tested in India.

In 2015 VFS Global entered into two significant new strategic partnerships to help develop its business operations: The partnerships, with German company Veridos and Thai firm CSP Chan Wanich Security Printing, are helping VFS Global expand its identity management activities. VFS Globalʼs expertise in process management and outsourced services for governments and public authorities has been enhanced by the expertise provided by these partners. They offer services to governments, public authorities and private companies for the production and personalisation of passports, identity cards, driversʼ licences, health insurance certificates, credit and debit cards, cheques, visa stickers and other valuable and security-related documents and papers. These strategic partnerships enable VFS Global to add comprehensive customised solutions to its portfolio of industry management services for governments and authorities.

VFS Global continued to expand its range of citizen services. Applications are now being processed on behalf of regional and local authorities in India for birth and death certificates, land registry entries, licences and health programmes.
In the second half of 2015, VFS Global successfully carried out a project for the South African government to record residency and work permits for over 200,000 people from Zimbabwe.

2015 also saw publication of the companyʼs first mobile app. This provides up-to-date information about the service and customer portfolio, as well as about VFS Globalʼs performance.

For more information about VFS Global, its business operations and its development:

VFS Globalʼs business model was created in India in 2001, and back then, like now, governments and their diplomatic missions were beginning to find it difficult to cope with the combination of growing demand for travel with stricter controls, increased security and all the implications these factors had for visa processing. The idea that VFS Globalʼs management had in 2001 was that it could offer to take on the tedious administrative part of the visa issuance process. This would relieve the missions of time-consuming administrative tasks and allow them to focus on the key decision-making task – i.e. whether an applicant should or should not be granted a visa.

VFS Global was established in Mumbai in 2001, when it set-up three Visa Application Centres (VACs) for its first client government – the United States of America. By 2005 VFS Global served eleven governments – including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada – with over 100 VACs across eleven countries, and had processed over 2.4 million visa applications. In 2007 it won its first global account – that of the Home Office- UK Visas & Immigration (formerly UK Border Agency) – for operations across 33 countries. New client governments such as India and also numerous EU countries followed. In 2008 VFS Global initiated the concept of joint Visa Application Centres (JVAC) for “Schengen” client governments  in India, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and Ghana. Eastern European and Asian nations, including Russia, Poland, and Japan also joined VFS Globalʼs roster of client governments.

In the past 15 years the company has developed a highly differentiated solution portfolio including dedicated visa and passport application centres, information services (contact centres), web based modules (for appointment scheduling and online payment collection), end-to-end biometrics solutions, verification and attestation services, specialised security solutions, etc. VFS Global has also developed sophisticated, technology-driven solutions which enable remote visa and other document processing – such as an integrated video interviewing hub solution, and a location independent document processing solution (LIDProTM)*.

In 2014 VFS Global successfully introduced and implemented “citizen services” which focuses on delivering non-judgemental, document processing services for governments and governmental bodies within the home country. In 2015 the company set-up a separate business unit for identity management and citizen services business. This new business vertical has developed well and now serves eight client government bodies across nine countries through 69 Application Centres.

Its global operations are certified with ISO 9001:2008 for Quality Management System, ISO 27001:2013 for Information Security Management System, and ISO 14001:2004 for Environment Management System.

Processing applications requires a very high standard of security and quality. Over the last 15 years, VFS Global has invested in cutting-edge data security and quality assurance technology. As a result, it can also process passports of all types. Thanks to its state-of-the-art technology the company can even deal with biometric passports. Processing visa applications involves working with highly sensitive personal data. VFS Global has implemented processes in compliance with global data protection and privacy requirements, like UK Data Protection Act (UK DPA), EU Directive 95/46/EC, Canada PIPEDA & Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP) from AICPA/CICA to ensure utmost security of data. This has resulted in recognition through awards for the strength of its data protection. The very high priority it gives to security has been further highlighted by its investment in a state-of-the-art monitoring system. With strong experience in developing and implementing biometric solutions, VFS Global is further developing its identity management business.

Application Centres are run as service centres. They are situated according to the relevant governmentʼs requirements in specific city locations. They accept visa or passport or other applications directly from applicants or via travel agents, ensure all documentation is in order, complete basic administrative processing work – including data entry, appointment scheduling and biometric enrolment – and pass on the applications to the relevant diplomatic mission/client government body. They are also involved in delivery of passport and other documents back to applicants. Computers, photocopiers and passport photo machines are available at the centres if required. Many VACs also offer VIP lounges and other services to enhance the overall experience for visa applicants.

VFS Global works predominantly with a user-pay revenue model where it receives its service fee directly from visa applicants, in addition to the visa fees which are remitted to the diplomatic mission.

In some countries VFS Global operates with Facility Management Companies (FMCs) for regulatory or cultural reasons. These FMCs handle the operations under the brand name of VFS Global. Some of the staff in these countries are employed by the FMC and infrastructure is provided by the FMC, but key managers are employed by VFS Global and VFS Global maintains complete control over, and takes full responsibility for, the entire operation.

Working in a highly sensitive environment, VFS Global lays a lot of emphasis on security – data security as well as physical security – and works as per highest international security standards. Stringent controls and processes are in place to monitor and control operations across the world. VFS Global also follows strict guidelines when recruiting employees.

*Patent pending. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved by VFS Global