VFS Global is the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages administrative and non-judgmental tasks related to visa, passport, identity management and other citizen services for its client governments enabling them to focus entirely on the critical task of assessment.
With 2266 Application Centres and operations in 127 countries across five continents, VFS Global serves the interests of 51 client governments. The company has successfully processed over 140 million applications since its inception in 2001.
More information about VFS Global, its business operations and its development:
VFS Global’s business model was created in India in 2001, and back then, like now, governments and their diplomatic missions were beginning to find it difficult to cope with the combination of growing demand for travel with stricter controls, increased security and all the implications these factors had for visa processing. The idea that VFS Global’s management had in 2001 was that it could offer to take on the tedious administrative part of the visa issuance process. This would relieve the missions of time-consuming administrative tasks and allow them to focus on the key decision-making task – i.e. whether an applicant should or should not be granted a visa.
VFS Global was established in Mumbai in 2001, when it set-up three Visa Application Centres (VACs) for its first client government – the United States of America. By 2005 VFS Global served eleven governments – including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada – with over 100 VACs across eleven countries, and had processed over 2.4 million visa applications. In 2007 it won its first global account – that of the Home Office- UK Visas & Immigration (formerly UK Border Agency) – for operations across 33 countries. New client governments such as India and also numerous EU countries followed. In 2008 VFS Global initiated the concept of joint Visa Application Centres (JVAC) for “Schengen” client governments in India, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and Ghana. Eastern European and Asian nations, including Russia, Poland, and Japan also joined VFS Global’s roster of client governments.
In the past 15 years the company has developed highly differentiated solutions portfolio including dedicated visa and passport application centres, information services (contact centres), web based modules (for appointment scheduling and online payment collection), end-to-end biometrics solutions, verification and attestation services, specialised security solutions, etc. VFS Global has also developed sophisticated, technology-driven solutions which enable remote visa and other document processing – such as an integrated video interviewing hub solution, and a location independent document processing solution (LIDProTM)*.
In 2014 VFS Global successfully introduced and implemented ‘citizen services’ which focuses on delivering non-judgemental, document processing services for governments and governmental bodies within the home country. In 2015 the company set-up a separate business unit for identity management and citizen services business. This new business vertical has developed well and now serves eight client government bodies across nine countries through 69 Application Centres.
Its global operations are certified with ISO 9001:2008 for Quality Management System, ISO 27001:2013 for Information Security Management System, and ISO 14001:2004 for Environment Management System.
Processing applications requires a very high standard of security and quality. Over the last 15 years, VFS Global has invested in cutting-edge data security and quality assurance technology. As a result, it can also process passports of all types. Thanks to its state-of-the-art technology the company can even deal with biometric passports. Processing visa applications involves working with highly sensitive personal data. VFS Global has implemented processes in compliance with global data protection and privacy requirements, like UK Data Protection Act (UK DPA), EU Directive 95/46/EC, Canada PIPEDA & Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP) from AICPA/CICA to ensure utmost security of data. This has resulted in recognition through awards for the strength of its data protection. The very high priority it gives to security has been further highlighted by its investment in a state-of-the-art monitoring system. With strong experience in developing and implementing biometric solutions, VFS Global is further developing its identity management business.
Application Centres are run as service centres. They are situated according to the relevant government’s requirements in specific city locations. They accept visa or passport or other applications directly from applicants or via travel agents, ensure all documentation is in order, complete basic administrative processing work – including data entry, appointment scheduling and biometric enrolment – and pass on the applications to the relevant diplomatic mission / client government body. They are also involved in delivery of passport and other documents back to applicants. Computers, photocopiers and passport photo machines are available at the centres if required. Many VACs also offer VIP lounges and other services to enhance the overall experience for visa applicants.
VFS Global works predominantly with a user-pay revenue model where it receives its service fee directly from visa applicants, in addition to the visa fees which are remitted to the diplomatic mission.
In some countries VFS Global operates with Facility Management Companies (FMCs) for regulatory or cultural reasons. These FMCs handle the operations under the brand name of VFS Global. Some of the staff in these countries are employed by the FMC and infrastructure is provided by the FMC, but key managers are employed by VFS Global and VFS Global maintains complete control over, and takes full responsibility for, the entire operation.
Working in a highly sensitive environment, VFS Global lays a lot of emphasis on security – data security as well as physical security – and works as per highest international security standards. Stringent controls and processes are in place to monitor and control operations across the world. VFS Global also follows strict guidelines when recruiting employees.
*Patent pending. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved by VFS Global