Kuoni India Plans to Take Visa-processing Services to the US

A unit of Kuoni Travel Group India is planning to expand its visa-processing services to the United States this year, so it can process applications for overseas missions which farm out visa issuance.

VFS Global Services Pvt. Ltd, the six-year-old subsidiary, is in talks with several countries that operate consular services in the US and has begun to study the US market, the company said.

“There are big missions in the US who are… looking at outsourcing very seriously,” said the VFS Global’s chief operating officer Sanjay Bhaduri. He declined to name the countries his company is in talks with.

Expansion into the large US tourist market would further boost VFS Global, which recently received a five-year contract from the British government to process about 1.75 million visas annually.

The company will receive £40 million (Rs348 crore) per year through March 2012.

Kuoni is a subsidiary of the Swiss company Kuoni Reisen Holding AG, which provides outbound, inbound, luxury holiday, and other travel services for the Indian tourism market.

The World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) estimates that the industries it represents will contribute 3.6%, or $1,851.2 billion, to the world’s gross domestic product in 2007.

The organization expects people in the US to spend about $871 billion, far more than any other country, on personal travel and tourism in 2007.

VFS Global processes visas for the US, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Thailand, among other governments.

It currently operates in 18 countries such as India and and Russia and plans to expand to 39 countries by November 2007 because of its new contract with the United Kingdom government.