Czech Republic and VFS Global extend visa service delivery to Georgia
The Government of the Czech Republic and VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments, commenced their visa application services for Czech Republic visas in Georgia today, with the opening of the Czech Republic Visa Application Centre. Catering to the growing demand of Czech Republic bound travellers in the region; this new initiative is aimed at offering new services, facilities and benefits to visa applicants, and boost tourism, trade and investments, and bilateral ties between Czech Republic and Georgia.
VFS Global will operate Czech Republic Visa Application Centre, located at 10 Kuchishvili street, Tbilisi, Georgia, 0179
Mr. Prabuddha Sen, Regional Head - RCIS, VFS Global said, “It is our privilege to be the trusted partner to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi in providing services to facilitate visa application process for travellers in Georgia. We are committed to provide professional and convenient services to all applicants applying for a Czech Republic visa in the region. VFS Global is privileged to be associated with the Government of the Czech Republic in Georgia. This extension of our association with the Czech Republic Government reflects their faith in our abilities, and we are sure this will go a long way in forging a longstanding partnership with VFS Global.”
The key features of the new centre are:
- Conveniently located and easily accessible state-of-the art Visa Application Centre
- Longer operating hours allowing applicants to visit at a time of their convenience
- Professional and responsive staff dedicated to handle visa queries and applications
- Automated queue governance for smooth flow of applicants, providing better crowd management
- Dedicated website for easy access to information including visa categories, requirements and check-list, applicable fees and application status
- Dedicated call centre and email support to answer queries and status of application
- 100% secure handling of passports, documents and personal information
- In-VAC feedback kiosks and forms, and online feedback services for applicants to share their recommendations and feedback about the services
- Tracking of application status and SMS alerts for visa status update on mobile phones
- Door-step delivery of passports
Georgia has been named Foreign Destination of the Year on MATKA 2020
Georgia 's work for developing and promoting its tourist potential has been recognised at northern Europe's largest travel industry event with the Foreign Destination of the Year award for the country's representation at the Matka 2020 fair.
The Georgian delegation at the 2019 Travel Awards of the fair, held earlier today within its Matka Trade Day that caters to industry professionals, collected the prize in Helsinki from the Finnish Guild of Travel Journalists.
Matka 2020 targets not only the Finnish tourist segment, but Nordic and Baltic countries as well. Nine companies and organizations represented at the Matka 2020 fair includes: Adjara Tourism and Resorts Department, Adjara-Tour Ltd, Georgia in Contact, Caucasus Travel, World Express, Georgian Travel Group, Voyage Tours, APG, Iberia Tours Plus.
Georgia is leading the way in delivering fast, easy, secure payments at checkout
Consumers embracing benefits of tapping to pay with Georgia leading contactless penetration in domestic transactions globally followed by Australia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus
Tbilisi, Georgia, January 16, 2020— Visa today announced that Georgia is now leading the way globally to improve checkout through fast, easy and secure contactless payments. Georgia’s contactless penetration is now over 95% in domestic transactions.
For many years, Georgia has been front and centre in terms of the adoption and use of payment innovations. Visa has been actively working to improve the checkout experience for consumers by introducing the speed, convenience and security of contactless payments. Consumers in Georgia have quickly embraced the benefits of tapping to pay with contactless cards and digital wallets with more than nine out of every 10 face-to-face domestic payment transactions occurring with a tap in the market.
“At Visa, we are proud of, and excited about yet another historic accomplishment achieved by Georgia. Georgia has always been a pioneer in adopting new payment solutions, right from being the first country in the CISSEE region to conduct a contactless transaction in a drugstore back in 2009 and now, with the recent launch of Apple Pay.
Georgia reaching number one globally by contactless penetration is a success that’s shared with all our partner financial institutions and market stakeholders and I want to thank them all for their trust in Visa and passion towards bringing innovative solutions to Georgian consumers. We are committed to driving innovative payment solutions even further and offer our partners and Visa cardholders the most advanced and secure payment tools and experiences to maintain Georgia’s leadership in cashless payments and further support the country’s digital transformation goals.” – said Cristina Doros, Visa Country Manager for the Caucasus region.
Key milestones of Georgia’s contactless payment journey over the last 10 years:
- 2009- Together with Liberty Bank Visa completed the first Visa Contactless transaction in the CISSEE region;
- 2013 - Jointly with Bank of Georgia, Visa launched contactless acceptance at McDonald’s restaurants across the country;
- 2013 - TBC Bank initiated a large-scale deployment of contactless POS terminals and issued a series of iconic Visa contactless card designs and stickers. Later, TBC Bank cemented these achievements by enabling the 1st Visa Contactless mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) solution ;
- 2015 - VTB Bank Georgia launched host card emulation (HCE) technology enabling mobile payment services – to enable payments just by tapping a mobile phone to any contactless POS terminal;
- 2016 - Together with Bank of Georgia Visa launched Visa Token Services, to accelerate disruptive innovation in eCommerce and mobile payments;
- 2019 – Georgia became the first country in the Caucasus where Apple Pay was launched.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com, www.visasoutheasteurope.com, https://www.facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE, www.visanewscissee.com
- 2009- Together with Liberty Bank Visa completed the first Visa Contactless transaction in the CISSEE region;
Revolut Chooses Visa as Lead Issuing Partner to Drive Rapid Global Expansion
Visa and Revolut expand successful partnership in Europe, adding 24 new markets globally to deliver more consumer choice and flexibility in personal finance management
SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON – September 30, 2019 — Visa (NYSE:V) and Revolut, the leading fintech in Europe, today announced a new agreement that will help Revolut expand its business globally. Leveraging Visa’s brand, scale and global acceptance footprint, Revolut will be able to bring its product offerings to five new regions, reaching 24 new markets, for a total of 56 markets globally. Under the terms of the agreement, Revolut will primarily issue Visa-branded cards in the global expansion.
Revolut offers consumers a range of digital financial services via a mobile application, including currency exchange, budgeting and person-to-person (P2P) payments, all linked to a Visa card. Building on the success of its existing agreement in Europe, Visa will enable Revolut to launch initially in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore andthe United States, followed by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam.
“We are excited to build upon our existing collaboration with Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, which will bring to life our shared vision for seamless, innovative payment experiences,” said Nikolay Storonsky, founder and chief executive officer, Revolut. “The new global agreement with Visa is timely for Revolut as we move into a number of new markets to offer even more consumers the control, flexibility and innovative features that our European customers have been benefiting from for years.”
“Revolut has made great strides in delivering innovative and unique experiences to consumers in Europe. We are thrilled to extend our relationship as Revolut looks to achieve their global growth ambitions and collectively drive increased volume on the Visa network,” said Jack Forestell, chief product officer, Visa. “With Visa being accepted at nearly 54 million merchant locations across more than 200 countries, we have the scale, experience and expertise to help fintechs like Revolut go global.”
Visa and Revolut have built a strong partnership over the last four years. The digital banking alternative first began issuing Visa cards to its customers across Europe in July 2017. Since that time, Revolut has been able to leverage Visa’s global network and capabilities to help drive their rapid global expansion, including issuing Visa-branded cards in every major European market today.
Over the last four years, Revolut has been at the forefront of global financial innovation. In an effort to enable consumers to better manage their money digitally, Revolut and Visa will allow for:
- Flexible, Customized and Seamless Banking Services: Revolut customers can receive instant spending notifications, monthly spending breakouts and budgets by individual categories. The option to complement the existing Revolut app with Visa APIs, including Visa Token Service and Payments Attribute Account Inquiry, and Visa prepaid and debit cards, will offer the security and speed consumers expect when they use their Visa.
- Seamless, Low Cost Currency Exchange: As one of the most affordable options, Revolut customers can spend globally in over 150 currencies and hold and exchange up to 29 currencies and cryptocurrencies - including bitcoin, the Canadian Dollar, U.S Dollar, Mexican Peso, British Pounds and Euros - directly in the app using the interbank exchange rate.
- P2P Payments: With the tap of a button, consumers can instantly send and request money for free and split the bill at restaurants and bars with any Revolut customer globally.
The Visa and Revolut global deal builds on Visa’s long-term commitment to fintechs and bolsters the company’s strategic business priorities, including:
- Visa Direct, Visa’s platform that enables faster payments to over a billion financial accounts worldwide
- Visa’s suite of B2B payments solutions for small and medium businesses and global enterprises
- Visa’s ongoing commitment to bringing digital payment options to the unbanked via social impact programs
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, visa.com/blog and @VisaNews.
Revolut was launched in July 2015 by former Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank investment bankers, Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, as a digital alternative to the big banks. While the fintech initially drew in customers by letting them spend and transfer money abroad with the interbank exchange rate, the company has since attracted over 7 million customers in Europe with its spending overviews, budgeting controls, savings features and cryptocurrency exchange.
To date, Revolut has raised approximately $340 million in investments, from notable venture capital firms including Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Balderton Capital and DST Global.
Switzerland and Georgia strengthen cooperation in the field of migration
Switzerland and Georgia are strengthening their respective efforts to tackle irregular migration. State Secretary Mario Gattiker and Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri signed a joint declaration in Tbilisi on 16 September. Since 2018 Georgia is 5th on the list of countries of origin for asylum applications in Switzerland.However, Georgian nationals have almost no chance of being granted asylum in Switzerland. To resolve the challenge related to unfounded asylum applications, Switzerland and Georgia have implemented different measures andare closely collaborating in the field of migration.
On Monday, 16 September, State Secretary Mario Gattiker and Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri signed a joint declaration aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two countries in tackling irregular migration. Since Georgian citizens are exempted from the visa requirement for the Schengen area, Switzerland has registered a sharp increase in unfounded asylum applications from Georgia (+87% in 2018 compared to 2016).
These applications have almost no chance of being accepted (refugee status recognition rate:0%). Moreover, certain persons lodging applications for asylum suffer from severe medical issues requiring urgent care, which complicates the return process.Since the visa liberalization, Switzerland has called on Georgia to take appropriate measures.On its side, Switzerland pursues a swift and consistent policy of return to the country of origin.
To address this phenomenon,Switzerland has, in collaboration with Georgia, put in place a number of measures. A process of cooperation has been established in May of this year between the State Secretariat for Migration,the Swiss embassy in Tbilisi and the Georgian Health Ministry,to enable the swift processing of asylum applications by Georgian nationals suffering from complex health issues. This cooperation process helps to swiftly identify the possibility of medical treatment in Georgia and consequently assess the person’s return. In that regard, after the talks with the Ministry of Health, Mario Gattiker visited an intensive care oncology unit at a hospital in the capital to see for himself the level of care in treating cancer patients.
Moreover, Switzerland and Georgia are committed to tightening border controls. In June, Switzerland seconded an official to the airport at Kutaisi (second largest city)for a month to support the local authorities in their tasks and to provide additional technical assistance on border controls at departure within the framework of Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
On28 August, the Federal Council decided to add Georgia to the list of ‘safe countries’. As of 1 October 2019, Georgia will join the list of countries to which the return of asylum seekers whose applications have been denied is considered reasonable.
The State Secretary’s visit to Georgia was rounded off with talks with the Minister of Justice, Tea Tsulukiani, a further meeting is planned with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani.
In response to the rise of asylum applications from Georgian nationals, Switzerland and Georgia had already taken measures in 2018, but these had limited impact. In particular, Switzerland has strengthened protection at external borders and imposed entry bans in cases where the asylum claim was clearly unfounded. For its part, Georgia has made efforts to strengthen borders controls and has conducted several information campaigns on the rights and obligations of visa-travel in the Schengen area. Finally, Georgia has tightened its criminal code to combat irregular migration.
INGO-Led Peace Summit Held in Georgia to Build International Framework for Peace
In this September, the “2019 HWPL World Peace Summit” was held in over 110 locations of 200 countries in cooperation between an international peace NGO named HWPL, government officials, and the global civil society worldwide. In Tbilisi of Georgia citizens from various social stratum gathered to call for a legislation of an international law for peace.
On September 9th, the event was also held in Tbilisi, under the theme of the “Legislate Peace (LP)" - Implementation of the DPCW for Sustainable Development”. About 20 participants including Vakhtang Bolotashvili from the Civil Movement, Elbrus Mammadov, the chairman of Human Rights Monitoring Group of National, Giorgi Jashiashili, the president of European Youth Organization. The participants joined the “Peace Letter Campaign”, as a part of the “LP” project which was held in 200 places of 110 countries and “LP” urges the head of state to support the establishment of international law for peace based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
DPCW is a document that specified the roles of international society to prevent and resolve conflicts around the world and currently in the process of being introduced to the UN as a draft resolution. Around 1.5 million citizens from 195 countries have taken part in the LP project by writing support letters and collecting support signatures.
Responses from leaders including the Presidents of USA, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, and Prime Ministers of Canada and North Macedonia have shown the support for the DPCW advocated by citizens in each country
There also was a time for case presentation by Tamar Lolishvili, an English teacher from Gymnasium AIA-GESSof Peace Education which is being practiced in accordance with the 10th article of DPCW, ‘Spread a Culture of Peace’ Choosing peace education is about creative problem solving, carefully understanding the problem itself and its various dimensions, and adopting new ways of thinking, perceiving and handling situations.”“Virtual Peace Camp invites children to think about what peace means to them and where they feel peaceful. The activities encourage children to think about what they can do to build peace, helping to develop interpersonal peace. The project also encourages children to think critically about war and to explore its human cost; they will learn about how children – so often the innocent victims of war – can work together for peace.
The host organization, HWPL, is an international NGO associated with UN DGC and in consultative status with UN ECOSOC. ‘9.18 HWPL World Peace Summit’ was annually held since 2014 and is a field of opportunity where figures from politics, religions, media, youth and women gather and discuss on peace.