You’ve probably imagined yourself somewhere close to the Niagara Falls or travelling to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Haha, I do that a lot. But just when you thought you could make this imagination real, you find you have to cross the visa huddle. Well, I can tell you that you are not alone.
Actually, if you hold a passport of any of the top 3 countries on the Henley Passport Index – Japan, Singapore and South Korea, getting a visa is likely to be the lease of your worries since you can travel to at least 189 countries without a visa. Not everyone is so lucky! For us in the third world countries, securing a visa is a big deal. That’s why I have put this together. I am sure you will find the tips useful:
Do your research
Each country has its own classification of visa, and the relevant requirements for each class of visa. Countries also usually have different requirements for different nationals. Do your simple research on Google and you’ll find out what applies to you as regards the visa you are applying for.
Complete the application form truthfully and properly
This sounds easy and obvious, but you never know! A mistake with your age, name or a silly omission which you had considered irrelevant could prove to be an albatross. At Afro Tourism, we advise our clients never to leave any blank space on the application form. Even if the question is not applicable to the applicant, it’s best to write “NA” instead of leaving it blank.
Submit all the required documents
I once had a client who got pissed off because, according to him, “I was asking for too many documents”. Most people think a visa is a commodity you buy off the market once you meet a consultant. Well, it doesn’t work like that. Every country cares about who is visiting and why. That’s why countries are interested in some basic details. If you are travelling for a holiday, for instance, it is only reasonable that your intended host country confirms that you have sufficient money (or plans) for your trip. Therefore, whenever you are applying for a visa, pay attention to the details relating to the required documents needed to support your application and always supply all – no one is insignificant.
Only submit genuine documents
Sometimes ago a client called me requesting that I should help him to pick up his travel documents at the police headquarters. What happened was that he applied for a visa using a fake financial statement as one of his supporting documents. There is no hide and seek about this, don’t ever attempt to procure a visa using a fake document. From a legal perspective, tendering a fake document is a crime. From an immigration perspective, people who attempt to procure a visa using fake documents could be blacklisted. The United States, for instance, imposes a life ban on anyone caught merely attempting to do so, while in Canada, Uk and the Schengen region, a visa restriction (ban) for a certain number of years is usually imposed on such applicants.
Comply with passport requirements
Most countries require visa applicants to have a passport that is valid for more than 3 months after their intended date of travel. Some countries also insist that applicants must have at least two free pages in the passport booklet, while some others require that every copy of any previously issued visas be made and submitted. These are seemingly simple requirement that may affect your chances.
Prove you have sufficient ties to your country
Proof of employment is one of the frequent requirements when you apply for a tourist visa. For most Consuls, having a good job in your home country is sufficient proof that you have ties in your country, which will make you want to return home after your holiday. It further shows that you are not likely to work illegally in their country, violate their laws and become a burden on their taxpayers.
Unfortunately, the meaning of “sufficient ties” is usually subjective. So, in addition to providing proof of employment, supporting your application with documents showing that there’s something worthwhile you’re doing in your country or that you have family and properties, etc. may go a long way.
Prove that you have the money
The first document I ask visa applicants to show me is their financial statement. This is because the Consular officer is likely to spend more time on it to figure out whether you have the money you propose to use for your trip and how you even got it. Most applicants are concerned about their account balance. For the consular officer, however, the important things are in the little details, like the inflow and outflow, the average daily balance and the stead source of income.
Get financial support
Visa applicants who do not have sufficient fund to support their application usually approach friends and family for loans or financial support. The loan/financial supports are then paid straight into their account, a statement of the account is later printed to support the visa application.
This approach is likely to result in a visa refusal as unexplained lodgement made into a bank account for use as visa application supporting documents can easily be flagged. The appropriate approach is to get an affidavit of support from prospective sponsors and attach other relevant documents proving the sponsor’s means to it.
Seek Expert Advice
Google is your friend when it comes to research, but Google can only help you so far. The ever-changing terrain of immigration, as well as the peculiarity of each applicant’s case, often requires that an applicant seek out expert opinion when applying for a visa. I have written tons of DIYs on visa applications. But each day, I meet clients whose cases just do not fit into the articles I have written. So, if anybody should tell you to seek an expert’s opinion, I guess I fit that position.
Don’t mix this up. Seeking an expert’s advice is not a guarantee that you’ll get a visa, but guidance from the right consultant can go a long way. As a lawyer and immigration consultant, I always tell my client that “what I do is not to give you a visa nor to tell you that you WILL DEFINITELY get it. What I do is to make sure that the consular officer does not have a reason not to give you a visa.” That’s exactly what a good consultant will do for you.
Don’t give up if your visa application is refused
A visa rejection is not the end of the world – even a visa “ban” is not. It could be painful considering the effort and resources put into the application, but if you really want to make that trip, you can reapply. If your application is refused, you’re likely to get a letter telling you why your application was refused. In your subsequent application, you must correct those noted reasons for the previous refusal, and bear in mind any updates to the country’s visa rules when you are reapplying.
Note, it was your Visa Application that was refused, Not You! So keep hope alive. Cheers!
For more on visas contact us on: +234-903-000-1895 or [email protected]
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