10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Applying For A Visa

Apply for a visa

Planning an international trip? Great! Do you need a visa but feeling overwhelmed over how to apply for one?

The truth is that applying for visas is not particularly fun but are a necessity when travelling internationally. Applying for a visa can often be stressful and the paperwork can be a thorn in your side.

In case you didn’t know, a visa application can be much more daunting than you might think. Some people have so many problems with their visa applications, that at the end they have to cancel their trips.

Since visa applications can be frustrating you may reach the conclusion that you need the help of a professional.

A visa agent like Visa First saves you time, manages each step of the visa application process, deals with the paperwork, acts expertly and gives you security and protection in regard to approval. Prior to applying for a visa on your own, there are a few questions you must ask yourself. So, let’s explore some of them.

1. Should my passport be valid for three or six months after my visit ends?

Sometimes, we forget to take a look at our passport’s expiration date before a foreign trip. In this situation, customs may end your trip before it even starts!. Make sure what the rules are for the country you want to visit.

The best way to stay legal while travelling is to check if our passport is valid for six months. That being said, if your passport is close to its expiration date, be sure to apply for a new one on time. 

Some counties may require that your passport is valid for six months after your date of entry. Even if your trip is just a few days, the custom will deny access if your passport expires in three months.

Questions before visa application

2. Do I need a letter of “invitation” from a travel agency or a personal recommendation or sponsor?

Around the world, embassies often ask for documents that seem perplexing, especially for those who apply for the first time for a visa.

Most applicants have difficulties understanding the purpose of the invitation letter. The reality is, everything about it is easy and simple.

The letter of invitation for a visa application is a document which the applicant is required to submit to the consulate or the embassy where they are applying for a visa.

This document is written either by the applicant’s host, or a travel agency (the travel agency should be accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) or a sponsor and is addressed either to the consular officer or to the applicant. The reason for the visit could be official or personal.

Note: In some countries (like in Russia for example), the invitation letters are called vouchers and need approval by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

3. What is the visa photo size? What are the photo requirements for the visa?

The photos are among the vital requirements when you apply for a visa. You will always be asked to submit one or two photos alongside with the other documents.

When you apply for an online visa or the visa has two parts- online and paper, you will need 1 digital photo. Those that are only applied by paper only may require 2 in some cases.

The main requirements for visa application are usually the same, though the formats could be different.

If you don’t meet those rules, your visa application will be rejected,, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the photo requirements particularly for your visa, otherwise you will lose money and time.

Check out what visa application mistakes you should avoid to make sure everything goes perfectly well.

4. Which type of visa do I need? What type of visa should I apply for?

There are different types of visa depending on the purpose of travelling which could vary depending on the country you travel to.

You (or a trusted visa agent) will need to explore which one would be the right for you. Some of them are – tourist visa, business visa, student visa, work visa, transit visa, single and double-entry visas, refugee visa, spousal visa, short stay and long stay visas, Evisa, Schengen visa, and more.

In the United States alone there are around 185 types of visas…Yes, we know that sounds baffling!

However, for each country, there are two overarching categories of visa:

  • Non-immigrant visas (This means that you do not become a citizen of that country)
  • Immigrant visas (you do become a citizen of this country)

There are also 4 types of travel visas: 

Visa Type Description
Type #1 Tourist visa
Type #2 Naturalization and immigration visa
Type #3 Student visa
Type #4 Business or work visa

These subtypes apply for every single country in the world, however, the requirements can vary widely, especially depending on the country that you come from.

That being said, you must review the visa information for your chosen destination. This is where Visa First can save you time and stress. We will review your personal circumstances and let you know which visa is the right one for you. 

Visa application

5. Which documents do I need for a visa application?

Again this depends on the type of visa that you apply for. There might be a few additions to the general list of documents, depending on the country you want to visit. Make sure that all the documents are original copies unless stated otherwise.

There could also be a list of supporting documents such as a certificate of employment, income tax return, bank certificate, biometrics, sample itinerary or documents of the previous visit.

Don’t even try submitting “doctored” or fake documents. This way you will not only get denied but you also risk being banned and fined.

6. Do I need proof of sufficient funds?

You may be required to prove financial sufficiency and provide such documents as a personal bank statement, credit card, proof of employment, and more.

7. How long will the visa approval process take?

This is mainly depending on the visa type, the country you apply for and the number of other applicants that the embassy is dealing with. Processing times could take from several days to several months. However, most common visa types are usually processed within 15 days (pre COVID).

Usually, there are also different types of visa processing mode:

  • Standard visa
  • Express visa

8. Do you need a copy of the vaccination certificate?

Be aware that sometimes immigration law requires that visa applicants obtain certain vaccinations prior to issuance of a visa.

Some countries may want to protect both travellers and the countries from the risk of importing or spreading a disease. In such situations, you may need a document called “International Certificate of Vaccination” as proof.

If you do not show a valid certificate, you may not be allowed to enter the country, you could be quarantined, or you may be required to be vaccinated at the point of entry.

Sri Lanka

9. Do I need copies of round trip airline tickets?

Amongst the documents that the embassy may ask you for is a round trip flight reservation or a flight itinerary. Depending on the embassy, the document might be referred to by different names.

You don’t need to buy tickets before you apply for a visa, but you can present a flight itinerary, which you can book without paying the full price, and once you get the visa you can purchase the real flight ticker. 

10. Should I use a visa agent?

If you are applying for a visa for the first time, you should know that it’s a quite painstaking and complex process. Hiring a trusted visa agent like Visa First can make the process pretty straightforward and easier.

We have over 17 years of experience in visa and work permits application. Our experienced visa agents will assist you to prepare your visa application accurately which will boost your chances for a successful outcome.

Our highly trained advisors know how to handle more complex cases and give specialist advice on specific immigration issues.

We provide fast and convenient service – removing the stress, and time associated with applying for travel visas and employment permits.

Our team will be more than happy to answer all of your questions and help you through the entire process securely from start-to-finish.

Apply for your visa fast and hassle-free today with Visa First

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