From Travel Weekly
By Nadine Godwin
Last Updated: March 10, 2008
Jan Dvorak, president of Travisa Outsourcing in Washington, believes he is at the forefront of a trend in visa management.
Travisa Visa Service recently won the bid to handle visa processing for the Indian government on an outsourced basis.
He said his firm was the first visa service to act as the front office for a government, but he said several countries outsource visa processing in India to private companies there.
He said Travisa handles all dealings with the public, taking applications (available at the Travisa Web site) and collecting fees and passports. The materials then go to the Indian embassy or consulates. India decides who gets the visas and issues them, then returns all passports to Travisa for distribution.
Travisa, which has been in business for 27 years, has offices in all U.S. cities where India is represented: Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Washington.
Most visas are delivered within 24 hours, Dvorak said, and consumers who show up at Travisa in person before 11 a.m. may have their visas the same day.
Technology is a key Travisa service; in fact, technology is the main reason Travisa won the bid, Dvorak said. Its software enables applicants to track their applications in the way a FedEx customer tracks a package, he said.
The service launched on Oct. 1, and through Feb. 29 Travisa's outsourcing operation has handled more than 180,000 visa applications, about 134,000 of which were for tourists.
Dvorak said he expected to handle close to 400,000 applications in 2008.
He said other countries were "looking at how this goes," but he added that it was "too early" to say which other nations might follow India's lead.