SITA has launched its digital visa systems, eVisa and Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), which are designed to improve security, reduce administrative burden, ease travel and increase visitor flows, promoting spending that benefits local economies and creates employment.
SITA’s 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. The mobile capability of SITA’s eVisa and ETA solutions enables travelers to make applications and provide their biometric information using their personal devices before they travel.
The mobile app also creates ICAO-compliant Digital Travel Credentials (DTCs) – a development in digital identity for travel that may replace physical passports in the future. This is intended to make the passenger journey simpler, more convenient and less time-consuming than applying for more complex traditional or on-arrival visas. For governments, they can biometrically verify the applicant’s identity.
According to the company, governments are shifting to modern travel authorization solutions, like electronic visas and electronic travel authorizations (ETAs). SITA also stated that 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 accounted for around 20% of the growth seen in the country’s travel and tourism over the period. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that traditional visas – applications made via a consulate or embassy – decreased from 77% in 2008 to 53% in 2018.
In 1996, SITA launched its first ETA system for the 2000 Sydney Olympics to give authorities advance visibility into the huge influx of tourists crossing the border, helping to reduce immigration bottlenecks. For one major government customer in the Asia-Pacific region today, SITA’s ETA system enables approximately three million ETAs to be issued each year, 96% of applications result in the automatic issuance of authorization and 99% of all applications are processed in less than 12 hours.
Jeremy Springall, head of SITA at Borders, said, “Adopting eVisa and ETA supports national prosperity. We’ve productized our proven and robust travel authorization systems to benefit more nations around the world as they shift to digitalize and futureproof their borders. The solutions help countries to cope with growing passenger volumes, improve security and efficiency, and deliver a more seamless travel experience that travelers demand, removing the complexities of applying for traditional visas. 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.”