A Visa application is a lot like the security check at the airport. It is daunting, and a little complicated but once through it, the traveling dreams are ready to soar high.
If you think a visa requirement is hyped and you can travel without it – sorry my friend but that is the end. There will be no trip irrespective of the tickets, preparation, money – nothing else will matter.
So before you go crazy planning the minutest of details of your trip, it is essential to understand what is a visa, how to apply for visa online, and visa requirements.
1. What is a Visa and why is it so crucial for overseas travel
The world we live in is free, but is still not. We need permission from other countries before we enter their borders.
Hence there is a visa requirement.
Visa – a simple sticker in one’s passport isn’t as quiet as it looks. It is the government authorized permission for non-citizens to travel and reside in one country for a specific purpose and period of time.
Each country has its own set of rules and regulations for accepting a visa application and even after accepting one, a country may not allow you to enter their borders remember Tom Hanks in Terminal and you may be asked to undergo a series of security and medical check-ups on your arrival.
2. Types of Visa
Types of Visa
Visa applications are of many kinds depending on the nature of your travel to the other country. Some of the popular ones are –
Transit visa short term visa issued while travelers are in transit
Tourist visa for leisure, pleasure
Visa on arrival no earlier visa application is required
Immigration visa resettling in a country
Student visa for further studies
Business visa for working
The details of each visa requirement vary depending on the purpose and the country.
Since we are all wanderlusters here, we will be only discussing travel visas.
Thankfully, Tourist/ Travel visas are one of the easiest and hassle-free visas to obtain.
Here are few of the most frequent questions asked while applying for an International tourist visa –
How do I apply for a Visa?
Shortlist the country you intend to visit
Visit their official government immigration website
Carefully read through visa application requirements
Fill the travel visa application form
Upload/attach required documents
Upload the information electronically or send it by mail
If the country offers a visa on arrival then no need to apply for a visa beforehand. Just carry the required visa fee and essential documents mentioned by the website/embassy and submit them on your arrival.
What are the basic visa requirements?
Visa requirements vary from country to country. Check the immigration website of the destination country for the exact requirements. Some of the generic requirements for visa application are –
An accurately filled the visa application form
A passport with more than 6 months validity and sufficient blank pages at the time of submission of visa application form
Recent passport size photographs
Letter of invitation
Proof of residence
Proof of profession
Proof of financial soundness
Proof of health insurance/vaccinations
Visa application fee
3. What is a Letter of Invitation?
If you have stated the purpose of your travel as visiting family/friends while applying for visa, you may need to attach a letter of invitation along with your visa application. A letter of invitation is a formal letter by the person you intend to visit inviting you to their country. This is usually done to re-confirm the purpose of your visit and ensure its honesty.
4. What to expect during a visa interview?
Once you have submitted your visa application form, you will be asked to appear for a visa interview. Interviews do sound nerve-wracking but there is nothing to worry as the questions asked are simple and basic.
Here are few of the common questions asked during the interview –
Why do you want to travel to the specified country
Why do want to visit at the chosen time?
Do you have any criminal record?
Who are you travelling with?
Who will you be visiting?
What is the duration of your stay?
Have you booked airline tickets?
Will you return to your home country after your visit?
Things to remember while appearing for the interview –
Know the basic details of your trip – places you will be visiting, number of days, your airline details, date of departure and arrival
Be honest and confident
Wear something presentable
Give precise answers and not full-blown stories
Try and speak in English
Use your native language if you don’t understand English unless the embassy doesn’t allow it
How much is the visa fees?
Visa fees depend on your nationality, period of stay, the purpose of travel and the destination country. The visa fees can vary from free to INR 10000 For USA. Check the immigration website of the destination country for exact information on visa fees.
How much time does it take to get a Visa?
Again, it depends on the country you are in and the country you want to travel to. Usually, it takes about 10 – 20 days for a visa application to be processed and granted. To avoid any last-minute glitches it is advisable to apply for visa well in advance.
If I am an Indian citizen, which countries can I travel to Visa- free?
Indian passport allows you to travel visa-free or getting a visa on arrival to 59 countries including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Fiji, Bhutan, Nepal, Kenya, Maldives, and Thailand. Check More
Important Tips –
Never imply directly/indirectly that you plan to stay there for a longer period of time
Show solid financial proof i.e. sufficient money to support yourself
If you are a student/unemployed you can show a sponsor – a friend/relative with enough money to finance your trip
Show strong ties to your homeland to convince the embassies that you have no reason/chance of overstaying in their country
Make sure you have submitted all essential documents
Never submit fake/doctored documents
Give a strong and reliable purpose of visiting. If you are traveling to that country for the first time attach your itinerary
Don’t let this entire visa application talk and procedures dampen your traveling spirits. If the visa process feels complicated you can always take the help of a reliable visa processing company.