TLScontact recently opened three brand new visa application centres for Germany in Saudi Arabia, located in Al-Khobar, Jeddah and Riyadh. The centres, which opened their doors during the first week in October, are the first to be operated by TLScontact in Saudi Arabia, strengthening the group’s presence in the Middle East.
The new openings in Saudi Arabia are part of a regional visa outsourcing contract signed by TLScontact with the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 2021, covering North & East Africa and the Middle East. This contract has seen us launch new operations for Germany in several other locations this year, such as Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.
The opening of the centres in Al-Khobar, Jeddah and Riyadh marks a new departure for TLScontact, with our entry into Saudi Arabia for the first time. Our local teams will be processing Schengen visa applications for Germany, managing the administrative aspects of the application process on behalf of the local German diplomatic missions. The centres will operate every week from Sunday to Thursday and we are also looking to roll out our ‘Apply Anywhere’ service in the coming months. This service offers customers the option to submit their visa application at a location of their choice, without coming to a visa application centre. This provides more convenience and more personalised assistance to customers, who can submit their supporting documents and carry out their biometric enrolment from the comfort of their home, office or any other suitable location.
Teamwork and intensive staff training to ensure a smooth transition
The new centre openings followed several months of detailed preparation, to ensure a smooth transition from the previous service provider. This required strong coordination across different functions and with our operations colleagues on the ground, under the supervision of a dedicated project manager. Particular attention was paid to staff recruitment and training, essential to the success of any new visa application centre. Representatives from our in-house training department spent several weeks on-site to train new staff members on German visa procedures and TLScontact systems and processes.
Our Chief Operating Officer, Gabriele Piva, was at our new centre in Riyadh for a pre-opening ceremony organised on October 2nd, with representatives from the German Embassy in Riyadh. Commenting on the event, he said:
“We are very proud of our new centres in Saudi Arabia and of the strong teamwork that led to these successful openings. Saudi Arabia is a significant new market for us, expanding our geographic footprint and strengthening our presence in the Middle East. Our local teams are very motivated by this new challenge, and fully committed to delivering the best possible experience to Saudi Arabian customers applying to travel to Germany.”
Following these centre openings, we will be launching new operations for Germany in Hurghada, Egypt later this month, representing the final step in the rollout of this new regional contract for our German client. Adding to our existing operations in Egypt (Alexandria and Cairo), Morocco, and at different locations across Europe, this will take the total number of German visa application centres run by TLScontact to 25, in 13 different countries.