Travelers to Botswana will soon be able to complete visa applications online and ease their entry into the country and the new service will also reduce the government’s investment of funds, time, paperwork, and manpower allocated for visa applications.
Israel’s Pangea, which specialises in digital transformation of government and business services, has been selected by the government of Botswana to integrate its eVisa solution as part of the southern African country’s efforts to expand its digital and online services. This will enable visitors to Botswana to obtain a visa online and have a seamless entry upon arrival at all the land and air arrival points in the country. Pangea is also modernising Botswana’s computerised immigration and citizenship system.
The decision is seen as a major vote of confidence by Botswana in Pangea’s eVisa solution and follows years of experience by the Israeli company in digitalising government services in the country.
eVisa transfers the entire management of the visa application process to the digital space. The traveller enters the country’s eVisa portal, submits the application and the supporting documents online, pays online and communicates with the authorities over the Internet. If and when the application is approved, the eVisa can be downloaded, printed, brought to the airport, and help both authorities and travellers to minimise queues and cumbersome paper-based documentation.
Online visas are becoming more popular as both governments and travellers are increasingly embracing the digital age. Visa requirements for many countries are already available online and more countries have also introduced the option to obtain a visa online.
The COVID-19 global health crisis is expected to accelerate the trend, as tourists will be looking at reducing their contacts at consulates or embassies in their home countries and at entry points at the travel destination. In the case of Botswana, this is extremely important since the country has a limited number of diplomatic offices abroad so the eVisa option will contribute to making travelling to the popular safari destination much easier for visitors from various countries.
Pangea has been active in Botswana since 2003 when the company installed a digital birth and death registration system which is still in operation. In 2010, the Israeli company deployed a computerised immigration and citizenship system (ICS) in Botswana. Recently the Botswana government awarded Pangea a contract to modernise the ICS system by installing the latest operating systems and upgrading the software.
“We are in the process of integrating our eVisa solution and expect to have it operational by the end of the year,” said Uzy Rozenthal, Pangea EVP, general manager, Government Division. By then, it is hoped that the global tourist industry in general, and tourism to Botswana in particular, will begin to recover. Botswana’s world class safari parks and lodges have enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. Rozenthal notes that “eVisa will dramatically speed up the entry process in Botswana and will translate into substantial savings in both administration costs and time needed without compromising border security.”
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