Friday, February 25, 2011

How to apply for a visa successfully (Part 1)


How to apply for a visa successfully (Part 1)
As this post turned out longer than I expected once I had it all written up, I decided to split it into two.  This is the first part.  You can see the second part here. 

The first thing I have to point out is that this article doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get every visa you apply for from now on.  What it does do is show you how to apply in such a way that you are very likely to get the visa you apply for.  Another thing to note is that different embassies require slightly different documents and information from visa applicants.  Indeed, people applying for different kinds of visas from the same embassy need to provide different types of documents.  This post cannot cover how to apply for every single type of visa for every country in the world but it will offer general advice that will probably be useful to visa applicants. 

Having said that, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of applying successfully for a visa.
  • My basic belief when applying for a visa is ‘honesty is the best policy’.  I don’t say that my father is sponsoring my trip when in actual fact, it’s my boyfriend who is doing so, I don’t say I earn N5million naira a year if I earn N2million and I don’t present false documents.  If inspite of my being honest I don’t get the visa, I believe it wasn’t meant to be/ I can re-apply/ there are loads of other countries in the world to visit some of which don’t even need a visa for entry.
  • First things first: start researching how to apply for the visa you want several months before you plan to go on holiday.  This gives you plenty of time to apply for documents such as bank statements and health insurance which you may need to present at the embassy. 
  • It goes without saying that you need a passport (that will not expire within 6 months of you applying for a visa) and to pay a visa fee when applying for a visa.  This may seem obvious but you would be surprised at the number of people who try to apply for visas with expired or nearly expired passports or who don’t realise they have to pay a visa fee or who pay the wrong amount.
  • Apply for the visa you want a few months before you intend to travel.  This is particularly useful as if you apply for visas at peak periods like summer or Christmas, it’ll probably take a longer time for your application to be processed.

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