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What kind of Documents are Needed for a Traditional Visa Application

A visa is often a mandatory authorization document for non-citizens to enter or leave a country.

There are two main ways to get a visa. One is in-person at a visa office, or online. This article will focus on the regular, in person, visa application.

Documents required in applying for a visa vary from country to country as different nations have different rules and policies.   

Why Are Supporting Documents Needed   

These documents are used in the visa application process to make the process more thorough; which increases national security of the country.

By implementing supporting documents, immigration officials will get a better look at who is attempting to visit the country.

This kinds of requirements have become common in visa application systems throughout the world and should be expected when a visa is being requested.

Common Documents Needed   

The specific supporting documents needed depends on the destination. However, there are some documents that are common in a visa application process. Read on to find out the common documents asked by embassies and consulates to issue a visa.   

1. Passport   

Passport is an official document issued by a government that certifies your identity and citizenship. It entitles you to travel under that nation’s protection to and from foreign countries.  

For travelling abroad or for applying for visas, you will need an original passport with a minimum validity of six months. The 6 month validity rule is very common amongst entry policies, but this can vary depending on the destination. If you don’t have a passport, apply for it, preferably months before making your travel plans.  

2. Photograph of self   

You may need need to submit a photograph of self taken at least six months along with the visa application form. Again, this depends on the destination.

If you have undergone facial surgeries, it is advised that you update the image in the passport as well. 

Your photo must reflect your current appearance to be accepted by embassies or visa centers. Old, filtered and black and white photos will not be accepted.  

Many consulates ask for photographs in prescribed formats and sizes. You can approach a professional visa photo agency to click your picture.

The most common standard dimension of photo is 2 x 2 in.

Some embassies may demand digital photographs. We would suggest you carry physical copies of your photo while appearing for visa interviews even though you have uploaded the digital photo. 

You may also need to submit the following documents   

3. Invitation letter   

A letter of invitation is an official letter that was granted by a national of the country of destination. In the letter, there is a formal invitation to the visitor to come to the country. The letter needs to be submitted while applying for visiting visas. The letter should be written by the applicant’s host. 

This could either be your relative or in the case of a business visa, your job provider who is a legal resident of the destination country.  

By way of writing this letter, the host is giving a guarantee that you will be accommodated in their facility and will abide by the law of the destination country.  

4. Bank statements   

These statements show how much funds are in your financial institution; it also shows daily transactions with vendors online or in-person.

Can you bear the expenses – be it your accommodation, food or medical emergencies – during your stay? This is one the most prominent questions in the mind of your visa approving agency. They may ask you to submit your bank statements to ascertain your financial credentials.  

How much money do you need in your accounts? This differs from country to country and depends on the duration of your stay. 

You are required to keep a certain amount in your accounts for a set period of time and most embassies will ask you to submit your documents in specific formats. The key is to be sincere about your finances.  

5. Proof of Employment 

This is an official document from the current employer that proves your employment status and will mention details such as the duration of the employment and your field of expertise.  

If you are applying for a work visa, you may need to provide an employment verification letter to prove that you indeed have a job offer letter from the company in the destination country. 

Work visas permit you to work in a foreign country for a particular time period.  

In-Person Visa vs Online Application 

In the digital world, more and more governments are going online to process visa applications, and most embassies offer both digital and offline submission platforms. 

The basic difference is that in the online method you download your application form, fill in all the required information and upload it along with the supporting documents via an online platform. 

In offline method you have to personally visit an embassy or your nearest visa center with the completed application form and supporting documents and submit them in the dedicated section. 

At times, you can also mail it to the visa office of your destination country.   

Sending Your Documents Via Mail   

To start with, create a checklist of documents that you need to submit. 

When you are done with filling in your application form and compiling all the required supporting documents, go to the nearest courier service office. 

Drop off the documents. After that, collect the submission slip, bill and document receipts from the mail office. Be sure to include a pre-addressed return envelope inside the courier pack.

Your visa documents will arrive by courier if all your documents and forms are in order. 

Uploading Your Document  

Most consulates offer this facility and, in some offices, you may be asked to self-upload all the supporting documents before your biometrics and interview appointment.

You should refer to the document checklist provided by the embassies during the online application. 

Follow the instructions and directions given on the site carefully as you are responsible for uploading the documents in the correct categories. 

Upload every supporting document in the prescribed sizes and resolutions. It is advised to use the services of professional scanning facilities. 

Some common formats are .pdf, and .jpg.

After uploading all the documents, click the submit button. The button will not work if you have not uploaded all the documents in the correct categories. 

Once submitted, your application will be sent for review. You can check the status of your application on the same site itself.  

Taking Your Documents to The Embassy  

If your country of destination does not provide an online application, you will need to download the application form from the embassy website, print it out, fill in the details and sign it. 

You can schedule a convenient time to submit the application form and all the supporting documents in the nearest visa center. 

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