Electronic visas are no longer new. They have been around for quite some time now, and it seems that more and more countries seem eager to adopt the electronic visa system. It means less work for embassies, and travelers are encouraged to go to a particular country when the visa application process is so simple. After all, if you had to choose between a destination for which you have to waste time at the embassy and one that allows you to apply online for a visa, which one would you choose?
What is an electronic visa?
An electronic visa, otherwise known as an eVisa, is a document that allows its holder to travel to a particular country. Provided that a visa is required, and the traveler is not visa exempt. It is basically a standard visa, but you do not have to go to an embassy to obtain it. Instead, you apply for it online. It has the same legal standing as a consular visa, although in some cases it is accepted it only at a few points of entry. An electronic visa is also linked electronically to the applicant’s passport.
How to apply for an electronic visa
Before we get into procedural aspects, you should know that not all countries issue electronic visas. At the same time, it is possible for a state to issue eVisas but for you to not be eligible for one. The best way to find that out is to use Wikipedia. Just search the visa policy of the country you want to go to, and that should tell you if that particular state issues electronic visa and whether or not you are on the list of eligible nationalities.
If you happen to be eligible for the eVisa you are interested in, the next step would be for you to find an online visa service. There are plenty of reliable websites out there. Some people prefer to use a government visa service, while others rely on third-party visa services. The choice is yours, although the second option comes with more benefits. It is also a little bit more expensive.
Before you fill in the online application form, you have to make sure that you have at hand everything necessary for the process. In many cases, all you need is a valid passport that remains as such for another 6 months from the date of arrival at your destination. Other requirements may include and not stop at travel insurance, accommodation information, return flight ticket, photo, letter of invitation. It depends on the issuing country. Not all of them impose the same criteria.
Once you have everything you need, you can proceed to fill in the application form, which is entirely online too. You have to make sure that you provide all the requested information, and please pay attention to the accuracy of it. If you submit a form that includes incorrect information, your eVisa will be rendered invalid, and you have to repeat the process. To avoid wasting your time and money, review your form multiple times before submission.
The fee for the visa is payable online as well. In fact, you cannot submit your application form unless the payment goes through. Depending on the visa service you use, you can use multiple methods of payment such as credit and debit cards, PayPal, etc.
The processing can take from a few hours to a few days. It depends on the issuing country and the visa service you decide to use. After your application is reviewed, your eVisa will be sent to you via e-mail in case it is approved. In most cases, you are required to print it out before departure.
There you have it. This is what you should know about the electronic visa and the online application process. Simple, right?