In this World divided by borders and International Relations, there is one document absolutely necessary to travel overseas, called VISA. You are going to need VISA for entry and exit from any given country, until your destination country and native nation are on VISA less travel terms. With more countries opening up their borders to travelers with a backpack and passport, majority of them will get you in trouble if you don’t have a VISA. Even if you have a VISA, some common mistakes can ruin the fun and make you depart from your destination to home on next flight back.
We have created a list of tips that will come in handy to get your VISA approved. They will also keep you at bay from common mistakes, and will make you aware of nitty gritty of VISA applications.
Pages of Passport for stamps – Every traveler in this world loves this process when the immigration officer of the destination country puts a stamp on your passport. But remember that every country has specific number of pages requirement for VISA. It depends on the space required by officials to put the VISA stamp or sticker.
Some countries might require 1 page, or 2 pages, or even more. So make sure, you are aware with the page requirements and your Passport has that many number of spare pages. This goes especially if you are on a long trip and are visiting different countries, as in such cases you might run out of pages requirement.
Visa on Arrival and e VISA – Well research the country of visit, beforehand and you might discover that they also offer Visa-On-Arrival for your nationality. Al, you got to do is travel to the destination country, and after landing in your destination you can get your VISA made at the immigration counter. These are perks of international relations and make your travel easy.
The second type of VISA that many countries offer to specific countries is the e VISA. As the name suggests such kind of VISA can be applied through the internet and the application process will be wrapped within half an hour of time. It is the easiest VISA application type, and you will also get updates about the VISA through email or portal updates.
Be an early bird – Never underestimate the duration of VISA processing. It may take from few hours to couple of months. You really shouldn’t apply for VISA on short notices, and keep a considerable amount of buffer time too. It is highly recommended that you apply for VISA before hand. Chances are that you have already made plan for this foreign trip so why delay in VISA.
Majority of the countries accept VISA applications from foreign nationals even 3 months before the actual date of travel. Such is the time frame that you have, so make the best use of it and apply for the VISA before hand in order to avoid any delays in your actual trip. BY doing so you will have enough time to reapply even if your VISA is rejected.
VISA Processing Time – Once you have applied for the VISA, then starts the wait of getting an update from the embassy or the consulate. No matter if you have even submitted all the documents right there still can be some glitch in them and you worrying about the approval of your VISA is very obvious and normal. But do keep in mind that every country has their own speed of processing VISA.
It mostly depends on the staff size of the embassy in the country along with the number of travelers the destination country receives from your home country. Keep in mind that during peak seasons the VISA update time frame can also increase. To know about the processing times of the VISA in any country it is recommended that you check their embassy website.
Public Holidays – On public holidays it is obvious that all the government work is hampered and you get to wait a little more for the procedures. But in case of VISA applications things are a little different. Mostly all embassies observe holidays of their home country and host country, which means more holidays and more wait time.
So prior to making any visit, do check the holidays falling in coming days. This is highly recommended if you are making VISA application on a short notice. You might be aware of the holidays that are there in your home country, but you will also have to keep a tab on the national holidays of the destination country in order to avoid any clash with application process.
Double check the documents before submitting – VISA application processing is also subjected to the documents required. Make sure you attach all the required documents along with your application and especially don’t assume that if I don’t have this that will work. It will lead to rejection of your application and will be a waste of your time.
It is highly recommended that you follow the right procedure, before submitting VISA application. The list of required documents is always given to you by the embassy and is also available on the website,. Do not make minor mistakes like submitting the blurred photo copy of the documents. Do not assume things, VISA application process can be very stringent towards its rules.
Booking flight tickets – It is generally understood and is also a fact that most of the VISA applications are approved, unless you have made some mistake in the application process or in cases if you are not eligible to fly in a particular country. So most of the times travelers book their flight tickets after the approval of the VISA, which makes it convenient to do so.
But many countries will also ask you the proof of travel before they grant the VISA as a part of their VISA application process. In such cases you need to book flight tickets beforehand. But if still you do not want to put money in flight tickets before the VISA is approved then we suggest that you get in touch with the embassy and ask for their advice.
Itinerary and travel plans – The documents that are required for the VISA application are notified to the applier before hand. This list might also include your itinerary. So do not be hesitant of sharing any such itinerary that you might have made. This will only gain the confidence of the embassy staff. The more you tell them, easier it will be for your VISA to be approved.
In few countries the embassy might also require the proof of accommodation before you make the VISA application. In such cases book hotels or hostels before hand for least few first days of your trip and attach the booking proofs with your application. Many countries will also require the entire proof of accommodation for entire trip, and if you do not want to do that, connect with the embassy.
Financial Proof – While applying for VISA, you will also be required to present proof of adequate funds. It is just to make sure that you have adequate funds to sustain your trip, and it has nothing to do if you are rich or poor. So it’s recommended that you get your salary slips in hand (if employed), proof of bank statements (If self-employed) and proof of financial assets (If retired).
Apart from the financial proof you also need to have some sort of proof for the consistent cash flow, though this norm is not applicable in every VISA application. It will vary from country to country. Most of the countries will only check if you have funds equal to what ypou are going to spend while travelling, the minimum threshold is their only criteria.
Multiple Destinations in different countries – If your travel plan consists of multiple transits, or multiple destinations in different countries then it highly recommended that you carry a stash of passport sized photos. Size is normally 4 by 6 centimeters with white background. Also make all the VISA applications before hand, which will save you lot of trouble.
In cases when you have prolonged stays in different countries, you might be relaxed that you will apply for the VISA of the third country while being in the second country. Do not do that. At many times it becomes difficult to obtain a VISA for a third country if you are not in your home country. Apply for all the VISA’s before hand starting with the first country you are going to visit.
Clear purpose of travel – This might not sound very important as many of us have a clear objective of visiting the destination country. It could be because of different purpose like purely travelling and sightseeing. It could also be because of meeting with friends and family. It could be because of some business trip or any conference. In any case remember to state the real objective.
This is necessary because it will also determine the priority of your VISA approval. The second reason is that the embassy staff is keen on knowing this to stop illegal immigration. There are many people who plan to immigrate to different countries while traveling on a tourist VISA. These measures are put in place so that people visit the destination country for specific reasons.
Travel Insurance or Medical Insurance – Applying for VISA to some countries might also require you to have a medical insurance, or a comprehensive travel insurance. It is done to ensure that the travelers are capable enough of bearing the medical expenses in case of unforeseen situations. This clause is particularly applicable in all developed nations.
For example while applying for Schengen VISA it is mandatory that you have a proof of travel insurance. In such cases when you are applying for these VISA’s, insure yourself internationally from an established vendor and don’t fall for cheaper travel insurance scams. Remember that money spent on insurance is money spent well and it is not for waste of resources.
Do not miss the appointment – Some countries will demand the applicant or the agent on its behalf to physically walk in to the embassy to drop and pick the application kit. Some might require an appointment with the embassy staff before the VISA is granted. In such cases you will be notified of a scheduled time when you will have to meet them.
Do not take these appointments lightly and be on time whenever such meetings are scheduled. If by any chance you miss the appointment, then check with the embassy if you can reschedule it or get a Prime Time Appointment which means you will get to meet the embassy staff outside of the schedule. However but make sure that you follow the norms laid by the embassy.
VISA application fee – Every process in this world that requires documentation and staff members to indulge in it, will also require some fee. Please note that the fee for VISA application process can fall anywhere from $50 to $200. It depends and varies from country to country. This fee is charged only to make the process more smoother and convenient for people.
We are telling you this, so that you can be wary of the services provided by VISA application services provided by third party vendors. There are many organizations that provide services in lieu of money to make VISA application process smoother. Before booking any such service always double check the VISA fee on the website of the embassy. It is always recommended that you do this in person.
Local sponsors – There are few countries that will need you to be on a prepaid tour, or to have a local sponsor, before they will issue you a VISA. This is just done so that the destination country can be sure about your financial status, before visiting the destination. This type of term is not applicable in all VISA applications, but mandatory in some.
In such cases it is highly advisable to ask for a local help from the resident or the national of that particular country. Chances are that you will find many such people offering such services from the destination country. In cases of few VISA applications, it is also required that you present the proof of residence, and in such cases you can probably lease some property from the destination country.
Transit VISA – Some countries will have very strict rules in cases when you are even stepping on their soil be it for few minutes to few hours. This is the most common case in transiting from one country to another if you have a connecting flight. In many countries, even if you are switching planes, they will require you to have a VISA.
By not complying with their rules you can get in some serious trouble. But there is also a good news, that such countries will also have a special VISA type called the Transit VISA. This type of VISA will allow you to transit through that particular country. The charges are very nominal, and in most cases such applications are made available online.
Travelling with an infant – If you are carrying an infant or a child, some countries have made norms for it to prevent child trafficking. These norms are entirely put in place so that people cannot smuggle children out or ion from the country. It is required that the child will also have a passport or the VISA, but still there will be procedures to follow for that.
For many countries you will need to produce appropriate documents depicting your relationship with child, with family photographs, etc. This will ensure that the infant that you are carrying is your own child or related to some person who is travelling with them. Before travelling with an infant or a child it is highly recommended that you check the embassy site for detailed information.
Passport Validity – It is highly recommended that you check for the norms laid down by destination country for passport validity before applying for VISA. If your passport is not going to be valid for a certain amount of time, your VISA application will be by default rejected. Some ask for 6 months at time of entering, or even 6 months at time of leaving the destination.
It will vary from country to country. In case if you are falling short of the duration then it is recommended that you extend the validity of the passport in your home country passport centers. If you are traveling to multiple countries be wary of the timelines as it can get a little confusing, and your VISA applications might get rejected because of non compliance.
VISA Validity – Every VISA that is issued has a fixed validity time frame. It means that the VISA is going to be valid only for a certain amount of time. Before making VISA application it is obvious that you must have created all the plans on how long you are going to stay in the destination country, and what your itinerary will look like.
In case if the VISA validity expires and you are still in the destination country for any reason, the first thing that you should do is connect with the immigration department of the destination country. VISA time duration can be extended but there is a process for that. Also make sure that you exit the destination country well before your VISA expires.