Top 5 tips for a smooth visa process

To help GCC travellers enjoy their wanderlust and make the most of their adventures, VFS Global has put together five most important tips the travel agents need to advise travellers to keep in mind before they jet off. Some administration tips for preparing documents related to visa application while travelling overseas is a must.

There is nothing more thrilling than an exciting overseas trip. All travellers want to do is read blog posts, watch YouTube videos and plan their adventures. But every overseas trip should involve some administration, in the form of preparing all the important documents, especially for their visa applications.

Create a checklist
A destination-specific, customised list is available on the VFS Global information pages, enlisting all the documents required for a visa application to that particular country. Even a single missing document could render the application incomplete and lower your chances of obtaining a visa. And it does not end there; a checklist is also useful when you organise your passport (which needs to be valid for at least six months beyond your date of return), flights, hotel reservations, itineraries, travel insurance policy, ID, medical information and vaccination records. Get the right photo Most countries request a current passport-style photo – a colour photo of the face, free of sunglasses, hats or other head coverings, typically 2 square inches in dimension, although details may vary depending on the respective government’s requirements. Ensure that the photos are recent and comply with the specific photo requirements of the respective embassy.

Get all the statements in order
Evidence that your customers have enough money to support themselves financially throughout their stay is imperative. This can be one of the following: Bank account statement – that shows there is enough money in the account for the trip. The statement shall be no older than three months. Sponsorship Letter – by another person that confirms they will be financially supporting the trip. In order for this letter to be valid, it must be accompanied by a bank statement of the sponsor, no older than three months. A combination of bank account statements and a letter of sponsorship.

Apply for visas on time
Every country has a different turnaround time for processing a visa application, which in turn varies depending on the peak travel seasons. Often, travellers leave their visa applications to the last minute, leaving themselves very little wiggle time to meticulously follow the checklist and ensure every requirement is met. Most countries accept applications up to 90 days prior to travel, with Schengen countries now accepting applications up to six months in advance. Applying for a visa early allows enough time to deal with any unforeseen delays.

Keep copies of documents
Ensure that copies of your customers’ passport, visa, identification and itineraries are on them at all times and have one copy entrusted to someone staying home. Should the originals get lost, the copies may act as a temporary measure while getting things sorted out. Ensuring that your documents are in order will save you trouble and make your trip a memorable one.

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