VFS Global: Enabling people mobility through seamless, secure, and sustainable solutions

Two decades back, who could have imagined a world where we could just book a flight from our smartphones or apply for a visa from the comfort and safety of our homes? Digital advancements, emergence of online booking websites, rising disposable incomes, and the proliferation of budget airlines have led to the evolution of travel and tourism over the past two decades. During this evolution phase, VFS Global has stayed ahead of time and pioneered game-changing technology-backed solutions to make the visa application process – one of the most critical aspects of travel – seamless and convenient for customers and client governments.

Starting with a pilot project for the US Consulate in Mumbai, India, in 2001, VFS Global expanded its global footprint and today manages the non-judgmental and administrative tasks related to visas, passports, and consular services for 70 governments worldwide through over 3,300 application centres across 140 countries. Founded in 2001 by Mr. Zubin Karkaria in Mumbai, the company has processed over 270 million applications since its inception and over 126 million biometric enrolments since 2007.

Governments we work with include US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and EU countries such as Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland among others.

Headquartered in Zurich/Switzerland and Dubai/United Arab Emirates, VFS Global is majority-owned by funds managed by Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative asset manager. The Swiss-based Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation and EQT, a global investment organisation, headquartered in Stockholm/Sweden, hold minority stakes in VFS Global.

Our collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland began in 2011 and we are committed to facilitating seamless and efficient processes on behalf of the Polish government in the markets we serve - China, India, Belarus and Turkey. This partnership underscores VFS Global's adaptability and expansive reach, exemplifying our ability to navigate diverse geopolitical landscapes.

As one of the three external service providers engaged by the Polish embassies/consulates, VFS Global takes on the responsibility of managing only administrative tasks related to visa services - collecting visa application forms, required documentation, and, where applicable, facilitating biometric enrolment. VFS Global does not participate in visa issuance decisions; nor has visibility in the outcome of the decision-making process conducted by the respective embassy or consulate.

Focus on customer-centricity

Customer orientation has been the hallmark of VFS Global's journey. All its service innovations revolved around keeping pace with evolving needs for trust, convenience, personalisation, reliability, and security. Driven by customer needs, more customised and personalised services such as Premium Lounges & booths, Visa At Your Doorstep (VAYD), etc were rolled out. The introduction of highly secure biometrics enrolment capabilities was the real game-changer, which led to the evolution of new-age visa application centres (VACs). Our Mobile Visa Application service helps applicants in receiving end-to-end personalised solutions at a location of their choice.

Innovation the growth driver

VFS Global is not only the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions but has built its own unique Operating System (OS) – a modern stack state-of-the-art tech platform. Its focus on providing technology-based innovative solutions to the sovereign governments it serves and visa and consular services applicants worldwide has been a key differentiator and business driver for the company. Going forward, VFS Global is focusing on customer centric technology products, keeping robust compliance and security measures at the core.

Socially responsible 

VFS Global aspires to create deep brand affection amongst its customers, colleagues, investors, and communities, whilst developing business and enhancing shareholder value sustainably and securely. By including sustainability targets in Executive MBOs, the company has mandated its leaders to lead the change in mindsets. The development is aligned with VFS Global’s overarching goal of being a responsible global leader contributing to sustainable value creation for its stakeholders. Some key initiatives include transition to renewable energy, focus on diversity with a significant ratio of women in leadership roles and contributing towards communities.

Market leadership and growth strategy

With accelerated digital trends and changing customer behaviour, the company’s focus will be on further strengthening its position in outsourced visa services, by maintaining a technology-driven unique value proposition to the sovereign governments it works with, fortifying trusted partnerships and forging new relationships. It simultaneously aims to scale up diversification opportunities in high-growth potential businesses such as outsourced Passport services and eVisa services.

Border management is likely to see a fundamental change, with the help of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. We see more governments integrating biometric enrolment in their visa application process to increase security.

Through strategic partnerships with governments and a commitment to technological advancement, VFS Global continues to redefine the landscape of border management, making global mobility secure, and seamless for all.