Whether you're briefly passing through Thailand or planning on spending a year working in Qatar, nothing is more frustrating than leaving your passport in the hands of the visa gods and realising a simple mistake is slowing the process down. While travellers everywhere transverse borders without a hitch on a daily basis, a handful find themselves battling queues at airports or spending longer in destinations than they would like to. If you're months, weeks or days away from hopping on a plane and exploring the destination of your dreams, there are a few simple ways to speed up the visa application process.
Fill out the visa application slowly and correctly
Yes, excitement is getting the better of you at this stage, but that doesn't mean you should rush through the application. Take the U.S. ESTA, for example. A mistake as simple as entering the day of the month before the month itself can slow down your application. Pay attention to these small nuances when filling out forms and you can save yourself a lot of heartache when it comes to finalising your travel plans. Working through visa processing services can help make sure you don't miss anything.
Gather all of the necessary documents as and when they are needed
It doesn't matter whether you haven't seen your birth certificate since the Spice Girls were popular, if the country you're trying to enter wants to see a copy of it then you have to get your hands on it and produce it as part of the application process. The chances are, most countries won't want to see such documents; your passport will suffice. However, when you're applying to work in a new destination you may find yourself needing to grab hold of copies of medical records, vaccinations, offers of employment and other important pieces of information. The sooner you request hard copies of these documents, the easier it'll be for you to get moving.
Guard the application with your life
You don't want anything to get lost in the post, right? Make sure you send your documents by special delivery, especially if they are hard copies. Get tracking numbers, check them furiously and then relax with an ice-cold beverage once you know they've arrived safely at the other end. Similarly, make sure you follow up emails with phone calls a couple of days later, just to make sure your efforts haven't ended up in a junk folder. If there is an agent handling your visa, make sure you keep them up to date, and ask them to afford you the same courtesy.
At times it may feel stressful, but it's always worth it in the end. Whether you're going away for a weekend or you're leaving these sunny shores for the rest of your life, paying attention to the smaller details can go a long way.