All you need is 7 minutes for a flawless visa application! The new, completely digitised visa solution from Viselio is creating a storm of enthusiasm in the business travel industry.
One important component of Viselio is profile data automatically carried over to the visa application by Umbrella.
Learn more about this successful start-up in our interview with the company’s Swiss CEO Niklas Zeller:
Niklas, it takes an average of just seven minutes to complete a visa application with Viselio. How much time is saved compared to a conventional application?
We reduce the total time for the applicant by about 90% – from a good hour to an average of under seven minutes. As a side note, we also significantly reduce the rate of incorrect or incomplete applications.
How does Viselio work?
We digitise, standardise and automate wherever possible.
With Viselio, the applicant completes a form that is customised and optimised for them and the visa they need. Much of the data is taken from their Umbrella profile. For example, the applicant enters their passport number only once. The official application form for a Russian visa will then require this information in up to five different places.
Afterwards, we automatically take care of things like invitations, employer confirmations, health insurance confirmations and so on.
Each application is automatically checked by our software for completeness and correctness before it is released to the applicant to sign. Our software is getting better and better every day.
In order to completely rule out errors, the visa application is then checked again manually. This requires very specific knowledge. China for instance does not allow applications with passport photos on a coloured background.
Do you also take care of courier services to the appropriate embassies?
Of course. We have a network of knowledgeable couriers in all of our active markets who take care of the delivery and timely processing of passports by the embassies.
How much work is behind software that covers all the contingencies of, for example, a Russian visa?
It goes without saying that we always rely on our Viselio system. The execution of a Russia visa with every detail and every variable requires preparatory work of one to two months.
For which countries can you currently apply for visas through Viselio?
Russia, China, India and Vietnam cover 75% of the visa requirements in our markets.
What about ESTA, the American visa waiver programme?
Preparations for ESTA, eTA (Canada) and ETT/EVV (Australia) are almost complete. We will go live in the third quarter of 2018. The integration with Umbrella Faces is enormously valuable here. The integration brings a clear added value to our mutual customers.
In which markets are you currently active?
As of June 2018, Viselio is currently active in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. But we are working at full speed on new markets such as Benelux and the UK, which we will open in the coming months.
How did the idea for Viselio come up?
I had an “a-ha” experience when my visa application for Russia was denied for technical reasons. Naturally, at that moment I was really frustrated. But I realised the opportunities a consistent digitisation of this archaic process would bring.
That was in the summer of 2016. The company was founded in December of the same year and we then received a noteworthy number of bookings from the B2C area relatively quickly.
Your father, Roland Zeller, is well-known in the industry as the founder of travel.ch and for being a successful venture capitalist. What role does he play at Viselio?
As a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors, he is really close to the company. With his support, we have succeeded in attracting well-known investors and supervisory board members.
What role do TMCs or business travel agencies play in your sales concept?
Thanks to their knowledge and access to markets, TMCs are our most important sales partners. And of course we honour that accordingly.
Do TMCs also make visa applications through Viselio?
That happens, yes. Mostly, however, visa applications are submitted by department assistants or the travellers themselves.
TMCs do play an essential role as they deliver the profile data from Umbrella.
Niklas, thank you very much for your time and the interesting information!