Turkey to outsource visa processing

 07 Oct 2016 - 3:32

Turkey to outsource visa processing
Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Demirok (centre), VFS Global Regional Head-Middle East Yummi Talwar (left) and Kingston Global Group CEO Dr. Afshin Hurmuzlu during the signing ceremony at the ambassador’s residence yesterday. Pic: Qassim Rahmatullah/The Peninsul

By Raynald C Rivera  / The Peninsula

DOHA: Travellers to Turkey are set to experience faster and more convenient visa processing with Turkish embassy’s decision to outsource visa application process to two companies starting next month.

Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Demirok yesterday made the announcement during the signing ceremony with two accredited firms namely VFS Global and Kingston Travel and Tourism and Services.

The decision to outsource visa application process was driven by the huge bulk of applications beyond the capacity of the consular section. More than 10,500 visa applications were received by the embassy last year and just in the last three months, the embassy handled around 5,000 applications, according to the Ambassador. “Since last year, Qataris don’t need visa to Turkey, but there are many expatriates who would like to visit Turkey so there has been a huge demand that our capacity does not allow us to provide easy application. That’s why we would like to outsource visa application, thanks to our partners VFS Global and Kingston Travel and Tourism Services,” he said.

In January, the embassy launched an online visa appointment system but due to the limited capacity of the embassy it still takes time, sometimes a month or two during summer which is the peak season, he said. Outsourcing visa application process would solve the problem and be a big help to many expatriates who wish to visit Turkey, Demirok added.

VFS Global is the largest outsourcing and technology service provider working across 126 countries and for 50 client governments.

“We have had a long association with Qatar. We have been working in Qatar serving seven client governments for the last 11 years. We are very happy to extend our services to the Embassy of Turkey in Doha,” said Yummi Talwar, Regional Head-Middle East, VFS Global.

Istanbul-based Kingston Travel and Tourism Services is a global company who makes things convenient for those who want to travel to Turkey through its vast travel and tourism network. “Through our visa services we aim to extend help travellers to Turkey as well increase our tourist numbers from Qatar,” said Dr. Afshin Hurmuzlu, CEO of Kingston Global Group.

Turkey has been a major destination for Qataris who visit the country for business and tourism, among others. “Last year, Turkey was a top destination for Qatari people. There were more than 25,000 Qataris who visited Turkey last year,” said Demirok. “Our relations with Qatar is excellent and we want to further enhance it. We have excellent relations on top but we want excellent ties in every level. People to people relations are important and tourism is one way to bolster it,” he said.