7 Jun 2017, 10:05 — 6 min read
Are you travelling abroad during the summer? If yes then these are some tips you need to note before planning your trip. We all know that the visa is a very crucial part of a trip and everything that we have paid for is on stake until we get the visa.
We cannot do anything about the visa decision that the Embassy/Consulate will take on our application, but we can surely take precautions to reduce the risk of not getting a visa on time. Every year during the high peak season we have seen travellers postponing or cancelling their trips just because of not having enough processing time.
Below are some problems that we as traveler generally do not know of that arise with Consulates, VFS, agents etc.
Heavy rush at Consulate
This is obvious as summer is the time when most Indians travel abroad for vacation, the reason being vacations and weather in other countries during that period. Indians majorly travel to the South East Asian countries, UK, Schengen countries and the US. For e.g. If the Embassy/Consulate normally takes a time of 2 working days to process a visa, they will need more than 5 working days during the peak season. This is because for all countries’ visas there are maximum 4 Consulates/Embassies all over India.
If we consider Singapore as an example - on an average there are only 50 agents in Mumbai who have authorised logins, and enumerable number of travel agents accepting applications from travellers. This creates a huge load on the Consulate due to which they might put a restriction on the number of applications to be logged in on daily basis. So, if the Consulate is not accepting the applications then how can they issue a visa? Such situations are common. As a traveler, we expect our agents/consultants to help us in such situations but we do not get what we expect. This is because such situations are out of any agent’s control. So, starting the application well in advance saves you from all the last-minute hassle.
Heavy rush at agents/consultants
You might wonder how can this in any way delay our visa process? 95% travellers process the visas through agents/consultants, resulting in heavy rush just like Embassy/Consulate. Agents/consultants might not be able to help you on an urgent basis for your visa processing due to commitments to the prior applications that they have accepted for processing. This can result in forcing an applicant to do the entire process on their own including travelling to the Embassy/Consulate, preparation and submission of documents, getting the DD done, etc. So, avoid yourself of all this and start the process well ahead of time.
Non-availability of appointment date
Countries like Schengen, UK, USA require the applicant to visit personally for biometrics or interview to get the visa. The visa processing time starts after the appointment with the VFS/Consulate. Due to the large number of travellers the appointment is booked faster. When one starts the process well in advance we give the Consulate enough time to process our visa even after the appointment date. The unavailability of appointment dates might result in delay of visas, hampering our other travel arrangements and causing heavy losses.
Non-coordination from Embassy/Consulate
The Embassy/Consulate, if requested, generally considers the applications with earlier travel date on priority and processes them faster. But naturally due to heavy rush we face this major problem of non–coordination from the Embassy/Consulate. It is not easy to get in touch with them and request to process the application faster. Even after submission the application is not taken for verification immediately by the competent authority. This creates major risk of delay in visa application process.
Mistake in visa
There can be mistakes in the visa after issuance like the passport number can be wrong, there can spelling mistakes in the name, sometimes single entry visas are issued instead of multiple entry whereas you are entering the destination country more than 2 times. Such issues are normal during the season time, so one needs to be careful to have a minimum of 3–4 working days after the visa processing before our travel date.In such situations we need to resubmit the passport and get the correction made.
Below is the earliest time you can start the visa process for some major countries to help you plan your travel and visa process:
So next time you plan a trip make sure you start your application exactly as per above timelines just to save yourself from all the hassle.
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By Sanjay Mehta