SITA has launched its eVISA and SITA Electronic Travel Authorization to meet demand from governments for digital visa systems as the industry continues to recover from the global pandemic. The eVISA and ETA solutions provide visas containing ICAO’s Visible Digital Seal (VDS), an encrypted bar code that enables visas and ETAs, paper or electronic to be digitally verified for authenticity, offering enhanced security and fraud prevention.
“Adopting eVisa and ETA supports national prosperity,” declared Jeremy Springall, Head of SITA At Borders. “We’ve productised our proven and robust travel authorisation systems to benefit more nations around the world as they shift to digitalise and future-proof their borders. The solutions help countries to cope with growing passenger volumes, improve security and efficiency and deliver a more seamless travel experience that travellers demand, removing the complexities of applying for traditional visas.”
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), traditional visas – applications made a via a consulate or embassy – decreased from 77% in 2008 to 53% in 2018, indicating the growing demand for digital travel solutions.
Advantages of digital authorisation solutions include improved security, reduced administrative burden, easier travel and increased visitor flows, which in turn promotes spending thus benefitting local economies. According to SITA one government’s introduction of an eVisa scheme covering 40 plus countries in 2014-2015 led to a 21% increase in international visitor arrivals and the creation of 800,000 jobs accounting for around 20% of the growth seen in the respective country’s travel and tourism during that period.
The mobile capability of SITA’s new eVisa and ETA capability enables travellers to make applications and provide their biometric information using their personal devices before they travel, making the whole process less time-consuming than applying for more complex traditional or on-arrival visas. In addition, governments can biometrically verify the applicant’s identity. The mobile app also creates ICAO-compliant Digital Travel Credentials ((DTCs) – a development in digital identity for travel that could replace physical passports in the future.
Springall added: “The adaptability of these two solutions means that they are fully interoperable with existing border control and airline systems. And, they comply with international standards and best practices.”