Thailand, one of the most-visited countries in the world, will soon apply blockchain to its Electronic Visa On Arrival (eVOA).
Thailand’s new blockchain-powered eVOA system intends to speed up and protect the digital visa application process and will soon be available for five million visitors from 20 countries.
eVOA operator partners with Australian travel firm for the blockchain-enabled service
The upcoming eVOA feature is a joint effort of Australian travel company ShareRing and Gateway Services, an entity that owns the license to process eVOA for Thailand, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Dec. 19. According to the announcement, Thailand will initially roll out the blockchain-enabled eVOA service with a focus on visitors from China and India.
The new feature will purportedly streamline the process of applying for Thailand’s visa as its existing Visa On Arrival process is done at airports or land entry points in Thailand, according to Tim Bos, CEO and co-founder at ShareRing. The process is paper-based and requires travelers to bring a number of documents like printed copies of their airline tickets, accommodation confirmation and photos. Such a process usually takes about one hour to complete, Bos said in an email to Cointelegraph.
Blockchain technology is used to improve security and speed of the digital visa applications
As digitized application process is associated with major risks fraud or mistakes from the eVOA provider, ShareRing have been working with Gateway Services in order to improve security, speed and the quality of this process, ShareRing CEO noted.
Specifically, ShareRing provides Gateway Services with its self-sovereign identity technology OneID, which enables optical character recognition (OCR) and protects data by encrypting all the information into a single file on blockchain. Bos explained that such a combination of blockchain tech and OCR reduces the amount of time required for eVOA partners to manually verify all the information.
Additionally, ShareRing is eyeing further global expansion of its blockchain-based visa application system after successfully completing its initial pilots. Bos noted:
“We see this as a blueprint for possible expansion to other countries. It's not a process that will be rushed though, as we need to make sure we get it right here before entering other countries.”