Lately I have been coming across the frustrations faced in the visa application process. Earlier, we would silently bear with all the hurdles and pain in applying for a visa to a Western country. Times have changed. This is New India, a confident India. People want better services, especially when you are paying for the service.
Here is one social media post which talks about Schengen visa, the paperwork is truly insane. And do the visa processing officers actually read all these pages?
Then, it today’s article by Chetan Bhagat talks about the
The US, the UK and Europe (which grants the Schengen visa) are amongst the most popular travel destinations for affluent Indians. However, getting a visa is a tedious collation of endless paperwork — photocopies of redundant documents…
In fact, all the other documents required could be uploaded as PDFs. Will Indians become more honest if they print things out versus give you PDFs? A completely online submission, a few QR codes, simpler forms will make the process of submission fast. If needed, some people can be called for fingerprinting and a short interview. Some interviews can be on video calls. Ever heard of those?Chetan Bhagat in “Hey West, can we get visas minus the pain and humiliation please“
And German Mission to India says,
Attestation or Apostille of Indian documents is not recognized by German authorities and is therefore not required for visa purposesVisa FAQ
Visa Application Use Case in the Account Aggregator Ecosystem
We know the problem. And there is a solution, though not ready to use yet for the use case of Visa applications. Account Aggregators are RBI licensed consent managers which empower individuals and SMEs to share their financial data in machine-readable format.
UPI apps removed the friction in the payment space, account aggregators remove the friction in sharing of financial data. Unique features of account aggregators, which could make visa processing smoother are listed below. To describe this in simple terms – when the visa applicant gives the consent to share her data, her bank will share her bank statement with the Embassy directly.
|Feature||Benefit for Embassy|
|AAs are RBI-licensed entities, this gives comfort to the end user.||Trust worthy route to receive data.|
|Many types of financial data from regulated financial entities - banking, investment, insurance, pension fund, GST (in works) - can be shared with another regulated financial entity when the owner of the data gives a consent.||Embassy can seek relevant financial statements (for e.g. just bank statements for a particular period) thru AA.|
|The financial data shared has a digital signature, hence it tamper proof.||No fraud in data received.|
|Data shared is in machine-readable format, the entity receiving the data can render it in a format that is suitable to them.||Each embassy can render it with the look & feel they wish to.|
|Data sharing happens only with user's consent.||This assures the embassy that the visa applicant was aware of the statements that were shared for the visa application.|
As of now, only entities that are registered and regulated by any of the financial service regulators – RBI, SEBI, IRDAI, PFRDA – can take part in the account aggregator ecosystem. Currently, we cannot use AA for visa processing, hopefully the government and regulators will allow for this soon. Some useful links/metrics as on date are listed below,