Helping Foreign Friends Get a Visa – Part II

Part 2: How visas are issued.  Visa applicants appear at the window of a consul (or vice consul or consular agent) and present an application.  To get there, they may have had to travel for many hours and stand in line for even more hours.  To prepare their applications, they may have relied on professional services and advisors, all in hopes of making it acceptable.  Once they hand the application and their passport to the consul, a short interview usually follows.  How long do they intend to stay?  Where is the money coming from?  What ties do they have to their homeland?  In short, what evidence is there they will use the visa for its intended and legal purpose of allowing them into the country for a short (non-working) visit, and then return home?

If the consul is satisfied with the answers and the application, the applicant is told to come back later in the day to get the pasport with visa.  Then the person’s name and data are checked against a database to see if there is any reason they shouldn’t be believed, such as not revealing a previous denial or an over-stay on a previous visa.  if all check out OK, a visa is placed in the passport by stamp or sticker.  If not, there may be a second interview and, if the consul’s suspicions are not overcome, the applicant is out of luck, and his/her data will be put into that database of negative information.

As you can see, it can be a costly, tiring, frustrating process, even when all goes well.  I’d love to hear experiences from applicants, successful and not.  (I had one woman pass out when I denied her application)

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