Types of Visas
Check the Passports FIRST!!!Before applying for any visa for any country, it is important to check that the passport being used has enough space for the visa, most countries require two clear pages to allow for the visa and entry stamps. Also the passport must also be valid for at least six months beyond the planned travel date and be in a good condition. If the passport does not meet these basic requirements, please contact us to arrange for a renewal or even a second passport if required.
Do they need a Single, Double or Multiple entry visa?
Most visa categories have options relating to the number of entries required. In most cases the options available to tourists are only single or double entry visas, with multiple entry being reserved for business visas. Often the invitation from the host or tourist voucher issued will govern how many entries and which type of visa is granted.
Single entry visas allow for one entry into a country, once the traveller exits that country they must obtain another visa to re-enter. Some countries impose conditions for re-entering a country within a certain time frame after exiting the country. If the traveller intends to re-enter the country within 2 months, we recommend applying for a double or multiple entry visa in advance.
Double entry visas allow two entries into a country, often within a short period of time. For example, these are often used for China when a person wishes to visit Hong Kong from China then re-enter China or if a person is on a on a cruise ship calling at more than one port in the same country. As part of the application process, tourists may be asked to provide a travel itinerary from the carrier to show that two entries are required.
Multiple entry visas allow for unlimited entries into a country for a specified period of time. This can range from a few months to ten years depending on the country to be visited. Multiple entry visas are often only issued to business travellers and occasionally they must show previous visits have been made to the country in question and or have an invitation stipulating that they require a multiple entry visa.
What classification of visa should they apply for?
Different countries can often have many types of visa available. The following are the most common classifications offered by most embassies and the most often applied for. If you are unsure of which classification the applicant should apply for please feel free to check with our office where our staff will be happy to advise you. When calling please let us know the nationality of the traveller, why they are visiting the country and how long for.
Tourist Visas are for persons visiting a country for a holiday and not conduct any business or work duties. A tourist visa can also be used to visit to family and friends unless a family visit visa is available. In the case of minors, embassies do not give discounts for children and occasionally ask for additional documentation such as birth certificates or letters from the parent or guardian giving permission for the child to take the trip. Occasionally if a person is driving into a country, an embassy may also offer auto tourist visas which not only contain details about the traveller but also the vehicle they are using, even if they are only a passenger.
Often business travellers will travel on a tourist visa as they believe it is easier or cheaper to apply for. We strongly recommend against this practice, if caught conducting business or voluntary work on a tourist visa, the penalties can be very high and even impair future visas being issued to the applicant.
Business Visas are for persons visiting a country to conduct business. This includes meetings, visits to trade shows and conferences, site visits (on shore). Also volunteering paid or unpaid often comes under this classification unless a specific visa is available. A business visa does not allow a person to work directly for an overseas company. Often the visa may have the words “Not Permitted to Work” on it. This means they can conduct their business using the visa but they are not allowed to take up employment in the country. Often the minimum requirements for the visa call for a Company letter to be provided by the employer of the applicant. We are happy to provide templates of these letters. Work Visas / Permits allow a person to work directly or indirectly for a company overseas. They are sometimes required if a person is conducting business on or visiting an offshore site such as an Oil Rig or Surveying vessels at sea. The process of applying for a work visa can be quite lengthy as often supporting documents must be legalised by the relevant bodies before the visa is applied for. As well as visas, we are also able to provide services for the legalisation and notarisation of supporting documents. There are often many categories of work visa such as: Sports Person, Technical Assistance, Emergency Assistance, Crew and Temporary Work Permit.
Please check with our site or call our office for more information regarding what is available.
Visit Entry and Family Visit Visas
There are many occasions when the reason for the visit comes under a generalised category. On these occasions an Entry or Visit visa is required. Examples include helping as a volunteer for a charity, performing as a musician at a concert, or taking part in a sporting event. Family visit visas are used by the spouse of a person living or working abroad who wishes to visit them. The requirements will often call for sight of marriage or birth certificates in which case the originals must be used. Please check with our office to confirm which sub categories are available and best suit the needs of your clients.
Contrary to popular belief, these are not for a person transiting across a country by coach, car or other vehicle. A transit visa allows a very short and limited visit to a country to allow a person to change planes for a connecting flight or board a vessel etc. Normally they are valid for stays of up to 48hrs.
Journalist / Media Visas
If visiting a country to conduct any work related to the media be it filming, as a photographer, presenting or as part of a crew, a Journalist visa is required. Often, prior to applying for the visa the relevant film permit or press accreditation must be applied for which can take anything from a few days to several weeks to be granted.
Many countries require persons working within the media to supply a letter of undertaking from the applicant to state that they will not conduct any work while they are visiting a country if they are applying as a tourist. We are able to supply templates of such letters and also assist in the granting of film permits and media accreditations.
Long Term and Residence Visas
Most visas allow for a quite limited stay in a country without having to leave and re-enter. If an applicant is going to stay for a long period to work or live in a country, visas such as an STR (subject to regulations) or residence visa may be required. The initial visa issued is often valid for a short period to allow the applicant to enter the country. Once the person has entered the country they are normally expected to register with the local authorities who will then grant them with a residence card or other documents to allow them to live and work in the country. Often they will also be required to pay tax and additional fees to the government of that country.
Official, Governmental Visas: Often special invitations are granted to applicants when visiting a country to represent the UK or to visit foreign governments. In these cases the visa fee is often waived and less demanding requirements are asked for by the embassy. Normally the embassy is aware of the pending visit and special arrangements have been made to facilitate the visa.
Many countries are opting for electronic visas or eVisas. These make use of the biometric information of the passport held by the applicant. Often there is no need for the passport to be surrendered to obtain the visa and the process can be completed by email or a call to our office. Such visas are normally issued for tourist and business travellers only. Countries such asthe USA (esta) Australia (eta) and the UAE operate such a system for tourist and business travellers. If the person is travelling for other purposes or they are of certain nationalities, a traditional paper visa often needs to be applied for and often in person by the applicant at the embassy.
There are also cases where the applicant is not eligible for such a visa, for example if they have a criminal record or do not hold a machine readable passport. Again, they may need to apply directly to the relevant embassy or renew their passport. We offer services for UK passport renewal that are often faster than those normally available to the public. We are also able to offer an appointment booking, research and form checking service for applications that must be made in person by the applicant.
How long should I allow for the visa to be granted?
Every embassy around the world has different processing times and services on offer. These can range from a few hours to three months. We always recommend allowing as much time as possible and to never confirm travel plans until the visa has been granted. Some embassies offer different processing times for additional fees. With regard to so called Emergency visas, these are generally reserved for real emergency cases such as medical reasons or death of family members and not because the traveller has applied too late or must attend a last minute meeting. However we will always use our best efforts to negotiate with embassy officials when a visa is required faster than their published processing times.
Guide to visas
A simple guide to visa and passport applications
We endeavour to make all visa and passport applications as easy as possible. The following contain guidelines and examples of the most commonly required documents to support applications.
Here are a few basic tips and rules that apply to all applications:
Passports must have enough blank pages for the visa to be entered, we recommend that the passport has a minimum of two pages. The passport must also be valid for at least six months beyond the planned travel date and be in a good condition. If the passport does not meet these requirements, please contact us, we can obtain replacement passports much faster than the normal service offered to the general public by the IPS.
Photos used for visa and passport applications should always be on an off white background, the applicant should have a natural expression (no smiling, mouth closed) with no hair over the eyes. The photo should be recent and taken within the last six months and not the same as the one used in the applicants passport. Unless otherwise stated the size of the photo should be 45 millimetres high by 35 millimetres wide (India is a notable exception) and of a high resolution.
When completing application forms, remember most embassies prefer forms to be completed in black ink only unless they are typed or filled out online. If the application form is completed online, any later amendments should only be made online and not by hand. Always make notes of any passwords and logon codes given.
Application forms, Invitations and other supporting documents must always state the full name of the applicant as it appears in the passport.
The most common error on the forms we receive, is that after spending time to check the application, the applicant often forgets to sign the forms in all the places given.
It is good practice to give the passport number of the applicant in invitations, company letters and other supporting documents. Also check the data matches that of the passport to be used for the visa, don’t forget some people have more than one passport.
Supporting documents such as birth certificates, utility bills and qualifications may need to be presented to support an application. It is always best and often required to send the original documents together with a photocopy. We always recommend that the applicant also keeps a photo copy of any such documents.
For non-UK or EU passport holders, their UK visa normally needs to be valid for six months or more beyond the planned travel date. Most embassies will not issue visas to persons who have entered the UK on a tourist visa.
The applicant will often be asked to supply evidence of residency in the form of utility bills and bank statements to support the application.
If you think you know…ask us, and be sure you know. Call or email us, we are here for you and will answer any questions you have.
To help us to help you faster. When sending applications to our office, please enclose a compliment slip with your contact details on it, or use our order form which you will find at the end of this guide. Every application we receive is checked by our staff for errors and omissions. If and when possible, we will correct or amend any entries that we feel may cause an application to be rejected or contact you/the client to explain the error. If you are not sure of what to answer on a form, please leave the question blank and our staff will be happy to enter the data for you. We do not expect you to become an expert in visas, but following these basic tips will help to ensure that all applications you send to us, avoid being delayed and go through first time every time. If you are not sure about anything please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org