How to apply for a visa successfully (Part 2)

This is the second part of my How to Apply for a Visa Successfully post. You can read the first part here.
  • When applying for a visa, one of the first things I do is get a folder, one with an inner flap that I can tuck documents so they don’t fall out. Avoid folders that need documents to be perforated to be filed. Some of the documents you will need in your visa application will include important things like birth certificates, school certificates or share certificates. These are not the sort of documents you want holes in. Other than that, the kind of folder you choose really doesn’t matter. The last folder I used was bright pink to put a smile on my face as I went through the (long and boring) visa application process.
  • Never assume that you need a visa application ‘agent’ to get you a visa. You can make most visa applications yourself and save yourself (shopping) money in the process.
  • Go on the internet and research the application requirements of the visa you want to get.
  • Make a list of all the documents you are required to present to make a visa application then make a list of documents you think would assist in showing you in a favourable light even if such a document was not asked for. You never know what might be useful.
  • Apart from a letter of invitation from a friend inviting you to stay with them, documents that might also aid with your visa application particularly to the UK are your friend’s payslips and bank statements. These are very sensitive documents but I have been pleasantly surprised by friends who have willingly sent me these documents to aid my visa application.
  • I usually write a personal statement addressed to the Consular Officer of the Embassy or High Commission and present it with the regular documents required by the office. The point of my personal statement shows that I’m a responsible citizen and that I intend to come back to my country after going on holiday. It usually contains why I’m going on holiday to that particular place, who I plan to stay with or where I plan to stay, information on where I plan to stay if I won’t be staying with friends, my career history (in brief!), how much money I have saved and what I have going for me here that illustrates I’ll return home.
  • The visa application process can be long and frustrating especially when it comes to getting documents from banks, tax offices and so on but if you give yourself a long time to prepare, write a To Do list and tick things off that list as you go it becomes less frustrating and almost fun because each step you take moves you in the direction of a wonderful holiday.
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