Visa applications are often very stressful. It’s JAMB all over again particularly for first-time applicants to the United States, United Kingdom and other developed countries. However, with a little insight and some effort in the right direction, your application is sure to be successful.
Most embassies are primarily interested in answering the following questions, and seeing evidence that you are telling the truth. Your application must tell a convincing story for it to be successful.
- Who are you?
- What do you do for a living? Prove it.
- Why do you want access to our country? Prove it.
- Where will you be staying if we let you in? Prove it.
- Can you afford to sustain yourself during the period of your stay? Prove it.
- When will you be leaving? Prove it.
Fill Your Form Yourself
Visa forms are not tests or exams, but a structured way for the Embassy or High Commission of the country to get to know you. Most of these forms are available free of charge online. To save money and reduce the chances of errors, patiently fill your form yourself.
Remember to always use your name as it is written in your international passport.
Make very good use of the “ADDITIONAL INFORMATION” Section. If there are any discrepancies you need to clarify, do so in this section
Visa Agents Cannot Guarantee You a Visa
If you decide to use a Visa Agent, remember that regardless of how much you pay them, it’s not within their power to see that you get a visa. Good ones will help you fill the form and see that you have all the documentation required, which is usually listed on the website or at the embassy.
Provide all ORIGINAL Documentation
Different embassies have different documentation requirements, most of which include:
- Valid International Passport
- Passport Photograph
- Bank Statements
- Letter of Employment
- Letter of Introduction (Click here for Template)
- Letter of Invitation (Click here for Template)
- Accommodation Booking
- Yellow Card**
Bank Statement: Usually 3-6 months, this proves that you are financially stable and will be able to take care of yourself in their country.
Letter of Employment: It shows that you are gainfully employed in your home country and are likely to return.
Letter of Introduction from Employer: This shows that your employer is aware of your trip and endorses it, increasing the chances that you will return to Nigeria.
Monthly Pay-slip from Employer: Usually for the past 3 months, supports your claim that you are currently gainfully employed.
Accommodation Booking: This shows that you have a place to stay when you arrive in their country and will not be a nuisance of any sort during your stay.
Letter of invitation: This proves that you have a good reason to visit their country
Your international Passport is due for a renewal 6 months before the date of expiry
If you are married, include your Marriage Certificate or an Affidavit to prove this. If you are travelling with your spouse, this certificate proves you are a couple, if you aren’t traveling with your spouse and the trip is unofficial, your marriage certificate proves you have a reason to come back home.
If you are divorced and answering a different name from that in your passport, I recommend you get an Affidavit to prove that you are the same person with the two names.
If you have different surnames from your spouse or children and you are travelling together, include their Birth Certificates, Affidavit, Family photos etc
If you don’t have enough money or are currently out of a job, I’ll be honest with you and tell you now that your chances of getting a visa are low. However, you can include evidence of other assets like share certificates, C of O for property, etc. The idea is to prove to the embassy that you have reason to return to Nigeria within the stated time.
If you have an old passport, include it in your applications. The more prior visas you’ve got, the high your chances of being granted one again (provided the countries you have been visiting do not include terrorist locations like Yemen, Syria, etc).
Even if you will be visiting and staying with a friend or relation, book your own accommodation. Like I said, they need to know that you can take care of yourself.
If your trip is being sponsored (in full or part) include the following documents:
- Letter of Sponsorship (Click here for Template)
- Passport Data Page of Sponsor
- Evidence of Sponsorship/Bank Statement of Sponsor
Organize Your Documents
Arrange your original documents in order, beginning with your application form. Do the same for the photocopies. This will allow you easily retrieve a relevant document on request during submission, and greatly reduce your anxiety.
Put in your visa application early, perhaps 6-8 weeks before your date of departure, especially when applying for a Canadian visa. Depending on how long the visa processing takes, applying early will give you peace of mind.
Summarily, this post is NOT a “how-to”, it is to give you a fair idea of what most visa offices expect, and to share tips that maybe helpful to your application. I hope you find this useful, and if you do, remember to share.
Good luck and have a safe trip.