VFS Global clarifies Sri Lanka’s E-Visa system amidst controversy

Visa on arrival Sri Lanka

VFS Global, the company involved in the controversy surrounding the issuance of on-arrival visas at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), has released a statement today (May 06) addressing accusations and clarifying certain concerns.

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

The company operates six visa centers in Colombo and Jaffna and employs over 123 Sri Lankan nationals. Since 2004, VFS Global Sri Lanka has processed over 3.2 million applications.

The Department of Immigration & Emigration (DI&E) signed a contract with GBS Technology Services & IVS Global FZCO, with VFS Global as the technology partner for the Sri Lankan government’s new E-Visa solution, available at www.srilankaevisa.lk.

VFS Global clarified that it handles non-judgmental and administrative tasks related to the application process only. The decision to grant or reject a visa rests solely with the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Currently employing 66 Sri Lankan nationals, VFS Global plans to increase this number to over 100 shortly.

The company boasts experience in offering its digital E-Visa platform to 12 governments, including Thailand, Dubai, Equatorial Guinea, Azerbaijan, and Suriname.

The government of Sri Lanka opted for VFS Global’s digital platform for its E-Visa and Visa-on-Arrival process to streamline procedures and encourage tourism and investment.

Applicants can choose from 17 non-resident visa categories online, ranging from one month to 10 years, with a dedicated contact center providing 24/7 support in English, Tamil, Russian, Mandarin/Cantonese, and German, with plans for expansion based on demand.

The statement clarified that the solution operates on a user-pay model, with no cost to the government. All expenses related to technology, infrastructure, and staff are covered by the company.

The total service fee, approved by the Cabinet, is US$ 18.50 across all visa categories, with additional charges for payment processing and local taxes.

The government benefits from increased efficiencies, transparency, and improved resource utilization in managing the entire process, the statement concluded.