e-visa application system



What we did

St Helena is a small island off the west coast of Africa, and in 2016 was opening up its very own airport to make travelling to the island much easier. Currently the only means of travel was by boat, with the nearest port being five days away.

Whilst it was still not expected to be attracting many visitors to the island initially, St Helena had always relied on paper visas, which would then be manually checked by border control. With the onset of the airport, the decision was made to bring this system online, to make it not only more efficient but also a more secure and robust system.


Our challenge was to create an e-visa platform that allowed visitors to secure a visa, and then allow both airport and border control an online system to check the validity of the visa.

From our own holiday experiences we have known e-visa systems to be more complicated than we felt was needed and as such by completing competitor analyses we could begin to work on personas and user journeys of those who may wish to visit.


This not only allowed us to visualise the journey someone would likely take through the process and the information they would need to share at certain points, but also that the system should be universally simple for audiences of any language. Through this process we also identified the various pages/steps needed to capture a visitors details and constructed a series of simple designs before any development began.

The design of the e-visa platform was kept intentionally simple through the use of large signposts using iconography to represent the different actions. The application process was broken down into small chunks to assist with getting visitors to fill out all the required details. This process could also be saved should someone wish to pause and come back at a later time.

What we achieved


During the project timeline the scope of the project grew and we designed and developed four portals to support the new e-visa platform.

E-visa portal on which visitors would find out about the visa and have the ability to apply. If accepted they would then receive via email an e-visa that they could print or bring on a smartphone to border control to be scanned and checked

A CMS controlling the content of the website, but also providing a database in which St Helena officials have full control over accepting, rejecting or requesting further details on anyone applying for a e-visa

E-visa check-in used by border control to scan a unique barcode provided to all accepted visitors via email. This will then return a accepted, rejected or on hold status to officials who can immediately take the appropriate action

Airport portal when airlines can do a pre-check of visitors based on the details captured on a manifesto

Due to the nature of the information being collected, security of the data was a key priority. We successfully developed the server environment so it is encrypted and accessed via secure portals.

All users are managed via the Umbraco CMS so if one should get lost or breached it can easily be changed to prevent any further security.

Technologies used

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