Visa applications from Sri Lanka in 2022 witnessed significant recovery driven by pent-up demand, opening of international borders, and eased COVID protocols. According to VFS Global, the world's largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions, visa applications from Sri Lanka in 2022 reached 68% of the pre-pandemic levels (2019). In comparison to 2021 when international borders began to open, 2022 recorded three-fold rise in applications.
“We witnessed unprecedented demand from Sri Lanka and the entire South Asia region as a whole in 2022 which led to an extended peak outbound travel season with steady volumes witnessed until December. We are confident that the momentum will further grow and hence it is advisable for applicants to apply for their visas in advance to avoid last-minute surprises,” said Prabuddha Sen, Chief Operating Officer (South Asia), VFS Global.
Another defining trend noticed in travellers’ behaviour was wider adoption of personlised service which began since the pandemic. Premium optional services such as Visa At Your Doorstep, (VAYD) that enables travellers to book the entire visa experience at a location of their choice doubled in 2022 in comparison to 2019. VFS Global offers VAYD for the UK-bound travellers from Sri Lanka. The company caters to 19 direct client governments and 17 represented client governments in Sri Lanka and Maldives.
“Health considerations continue to be a key determining factor in the new normal. As a result we see an increasing number of travellers opt of such services that provide a seamless visa experience and prioratise safe travel,” added Sen.
With the students’ travel season set to begin in a couple of months, VFS Global centres in Sri Lanka would operate extended hours to accommodate the rush. The company would also continue to operate temporary visa application centres in Male for students from Maldives pursuing higher education in the UK.