With the easing of travel restrictions across the globe and pent-up demand for overseas travel, visa facilitator VFS Global has witnessed a spike in visa applications, besides growing demand for its ‘Visa At Your Doorstep’ premium service.
The demand for the ‘doorstep’ service in Q1 CY2022 was six times higher than the same quarter in 2019 and four times higher than the first quarter of 2021, said Jaya Amit Mitra, Head of Operations – South India, Sri Lanka & Maldives.
She was in the city on Monday to discuss key visa trends, post-pandemic customer behavior and the international travel outlook ahead of the peak summer season.
VFS Global is the world’s largest visa outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions. The company operates in 141 countries, serving 65 client governments. Since its inception in 2001, VFS Global has processed over 240 million visa applications as of March 2022. In India, it has over 560 visa application centres spread across 17 cities.
Mitra said the company has seen a 133 per cent jump in visa application volumes in Q1 2022 as against 2021. However, she added that the volumes are not comparable since many international borders were closed in Q12021 with pandemic-induced travel restrictions.
On Chennai-specific data, Mitra said there was a 2X jump in demand for the ‘Visa At Your Doorstep’ service in the Chennai market, while demand for ‘Premium Lounge’, which offers end-to-end personalised service, is rising with the rise in application volumes.
“Earlier, people opted for the doorstep visa service because they could not come out of their homes, but now it has become a matter of convenience,” Mitra said.
The doorstep service enables customers to apply for a visa from the comfort of their home/ office. “If an applicant chooses the service, we will visit them at a convenient time, it could be in the office, a relative’s place or a friend’s place. We hand them the applications and help them with the end-to-end application process,” Mitra said.
On the pricing, Mitra said while the Premium Lounge service pricing differs with the country of travel, the pricing of the doorstep service differs with the group size, more the number of applications, lesser the price.