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VISA PROCESS INFORMATION
VISA PROCESS INFORMATION
VISA APPLICATION PROCESS FLOW
A visa is a form of authorization which entitles a person to seek entry to a foreign country. There are different categories of visa depending on your purpose of travel. In general, where you are not seeking residence in a country and depending on your nationality, you may be visa exempt, required to obtain a visa on arrival or obtain a visa prior to travel.
All individuals who require a visa prior to travel must make an application to the relevant destination country Embassy or an online E-Visa application. Failure to obtain a visa where required may also be subject to carriers liability – your flight provider may not allow you to board the plane without the requisite immigration approvals.
Any visa required national must make an application. In order to do this you must collate and provide a list of supporting documentation. In most cases this will include your passport, passport photographs and visa application form.
To support the application type, typically the following additional documents may be requested: business support letters, invite letters / official govt invite letters, contracts of employment, resumes, proof of qualifications, birth / marriage certificates, travel itineraries, proof of accommodation, bank statements, criminal record certificates, medical documents / proof of travel insurance, US residence visa (if applicable) and more.
Each document type will also have its own list of requirements such passport validity or certain mandatory content in the support letters etc. Failure to meet all requirements is subject to outright refusal and could also impact future visa applications.
As indicated in the visa glossary, you are not always required to obtain a visa in order to seek entry to a foreign country. Please select your nationality, State of residence, destination and purpose of travel from the drop down above. This will outline to you, depending on your nationality and purpose of travel, your category of application and if you require a visa prior to travel.
If you do not require a visa, it is still important to be aware of minimum passport validity, no of minimum blank visa pages and any other entry requirements. Ultimately in-country visa officer discretion may apply, therefore it is very important you review all relevant instructions if making the trip as a visa exempt or visa on arrival traveler.
Global Visas provides a full scope of service and support. We advise initially if a visa is required and/or on the visa type. Concurrently, if an in-person appearance is required by the applicant, in most cases our scope is to assist with reviewing all documentation, ensuring your appointment (if required) is secured and that you are fully prepared for the submission.
Where Global Visas can act as the third party filing agent, again upon review of all your completed supporting documentation, we will request for all originals to be mailed to us. Accordingly we will submit the application on your behalf to the relevant Embassy / Consulate.
If you are a visa required national, an application must be made to an Embassy / Consulate, or an E-Visa application (online submission). Each such application type and category will have varying processing times – this will allow the Embassy or responsible immigration authority to review and make a decision on your application. You must factor these processing times into your intended travel date and must fully appreciate, processing times are subject to Embassy delays and/or public closures.
An Embassy may ultimately refuse an application and ask the applicant to reapply with amended documentation OR they may request additional documents before providing approval; with all such scenarios causing delays. Furthermore and where available, all expedited methods of submission and associated fees will be outlined by Global Visas.
Where an in-person application is required, an appointment with the relevant Embassy / Consulate is generally needed. There are however a few Embassies which allow and make provision for submissions daily (during specified hours). There is also a small number countries and application types where an in-person application is required but Global Visas can still act as the third party filing agent.
All such steps above will be outlined accordingly on the relevant visa instructions page. However it is important to note that appointments are subject to availability and can be difficult to obtain – please work with your dedicated visa agent on this.
After it has been indicated a visa is required, you must begin to prepare and collate all supporting documentation. At this stage it is very important to be aware of which documents you require originals (Global Visas clearly indicates this on each visa instruction). This is even more important if you need to request these documents from an individual or organization, as naturally they will be mailing all originals in the post which can take some time (especially if being sent from abroad).
Incidental to the above, some documents may require an application in themselves (govt approved invite letters, police clearance certificates / criminal record certificates etc); you must factor any such additional delays into your anticipated travel date and visa processing time.
All visa applications will require a passport to be valid for a certain length and must contain a certain no. of blank pages for visa stamping and/or in-country entry stamping. If upon review of your relevant visa instructions, you do not have the required passport validity and no of required blank pages, please initially speak to your dedicated visa agent to see if any exemptions may apply (although highly discretional).
If required, Global Visas can assist you in obtaining a new passport or renewal – we will also explore all expedited methods of submission for the application, subject to availability. Furthermore, please do access the US passport weblink in the menu above for more information on obtaining a second passport.
An E-Visa / Electronic Visa application consists of an online submission ONLY; physical documentation at the stage of application are not required. E-Visas are becoming increasingly popular to promote ease of travel and tourism – hence they are not always available for business activities. You will need to provide clear color scans of all required documents (please be mindful of any specified file types / file sizes) and the completed Global Visas E-Visa questionnaire.
If approved, the E-visa will be sent to you via email from our team, along with all final instructions. You must print and carry the official document to the destination country; again you will not receive a physical endorsement in your passport. Generally E-Visa fees are low; therefore we highly advise given higher scrutiny for rejection and refused repeat applications for errors in submission, Global Visa E-Visa services are utilized.
In many situations, particularly for business travel and for a business visa application, you will be required to provide a support letter from your employer. This letter must evidence the purpose of the trip, your personal information, your detailed travel itinerary / in-country contacts and planned activities. Your employer may also be required to evidence certain financial undertakings for trip and repatriation (in emergencies).
Naturally such letters must be signed by a responsible party, and in most cases for a home employer support letter – it must also be signed in original. Each visa instructions page (where applicable) clearly outlines the following: the letter must be signed by a member of your HR, or a member of your management team. If the latter, this person must be at least a manager grade and/or at least the same grade as yourself, and must be aware of your trip.
The majority of visa applications, including many E-Visa applications will require the applicant to provide a set of passport sized photographs; these can be displayed on the visa or vignette sticker. It is therefore very important the pictures provided are not too old – many Embassies request no older than 3 months at the date of submission.
In particular where you have already used a set of pictures for a previous visa application (and have some spares), and the issued visa is placed inside the passport you are to submit with the new visa application, this itself would show the age of the spare photos if used again to the deciding visa officer. It is also important to consider all other photo requirements such as background, facial expressions etc.
Equally important to visa requirements is the need to understand and/or obtain the relevant vaccinations required for travel to the destination country. Not all countries require such medical intervention, it is however important for your health and safety that all such considerations are made. There may also be instances where as part of your visa application or upon entry to the destination country, you are requested to provide proof of such vaccinations.
Furthermore, each Global Visas country overview page contains a weblink to the official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website (country specific). Here you will find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for your destination country.
In many instances and in particular with business travelers, a visa is required but the applicant needs their original passport for current travel. This invariably creates a problem – with busy schedules, a business traveler may be required to complete both trips.
Very applicable in the above scenario (and also catered more to business travelers), it would be highly advisable to obtain a second US passport. Again to see more information about this and other benefits of obtaining a second US passport, please access the US passport weblink in the menu above.
A Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them. Therefore, you must lodge a Schengen visa application at the Consulate of the country that you intend to visit first, or – if you intend to visit more than one Schengen State, the Consulate of the country where you will spend the longest period. However in practice, it can be difficult to meet the requirements and/or evidence the second route.
For more information, please see the following weblink: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/schengen_visa_en
Where business travel is required, each traveler must consider permissible and non-permissible business visitor activities. To ensure your own immigration compliance and the integrity of the employer you are representing, a traveler must not undertake activities as a business visitor which would constitute work in the foreign country.
Further to the above, each country has their own defined list of permissible and non-permissible business visitor activities. Each traveler must adhere to these or alternatively, obtain a work permit / work authorization for the foreign country – the process of which can be lengthy and document heavy.
An immediate roadmap for Global Visas will be to list all permissible and non-permissible business visitor activities, on each country overview page.
For all visa applications, a visa validity must be selected including a requested length and no. of entries. Ultimately visa issuance is subject Embassy discretion.
After an application has been processed and approved by an Embassy, it is very important you understand your visa validity and any additional visa conditions. In some cases this could include an in-country registration with the local authorities or medical requirements. Likewise with visa validity, you may have additional restrictions – for example a multiple entry visa may only allow a certain no. of days per visit.
Such stipulations outlined above are critical to avoid overstaying and in-country sanctions, which ultimately may not only affect your ability to visit that country again but also affect future visa applications – where such travel history and/or noncompliance will be requested.
Every year Global Visas has promised to give away 10% of its profits to charitable causes. It is our responsibility to make the world a better place and do whatever we can to make a change.
You may find further information regarding Global Visas involvement and how you can also donate at the following weblink: