After you receive your passport with the visa stamp in it, there are several pieces of information on the visa sticker that are very important. Most of the time the information on the visa sticker is correct, but in rare cases the Embassy or Consulate may make an error.
We’ve come across cases wherein the applicant’s old (expired) passport number was listed on the visa stamp or the gender of the applicant was wrongly entered .i.e. ‘F’ instead of ‘M’. In another example, the visa stamp displays ‘Business’ as the visa type when it was supposed to be a ‘Tourist’ visa. This can create severe problems and prevent the applicant from entering the visiting country. Such mistakes and many others if detected should be corrected immediately, since the applicant will be refused entry into the country. Therefore, by all means, travelers should always check their visa stickers (stamps) very carefully, immediately upon receipt of the visa and contact the Embassy/Consulate or Travel Agent to make the corrections.
What to check after acquiring the Visa:
- Applicant’s name is spelled correctly, exactly as on the passport. (Tip: Given name is the first name, while Surname is the last name).
- Date of birth and Gender (Male/Female) are correct.
- Photograph if affixed on the visa is yours.
- Visa type is correct and as per your visit purpose i.e. tourist, business, visit, student etc.
- If the visa has the passport number, make sure that these numbers are the same as on passport.
- Check that the number of entries you applied for (one, two, or multiple) corresponds with the number of entries indicated on your visa sticker. On some visas, the entry may be indicated as ‘S’ or ‘M’. ‘S’ means single entry and ‘M’ means multiple entry. If you have multiple entries, means you can enter the country multiple times until the visa expires.
- Always check the dates that the visa is valid for and if it is issued for the specific dates/period that you requested, as visas do not always cover a standard “travel window” like other country visas you may have had previously.
- Check the duration of stay is as per the requested period. The days should be counted from the date you plan to enter (the entry stamp) to the date you plan to exit (the exit stamp), i.e. both days included. At times, Embassies may grant a shorter duration then what you requested. In this case, you will need to reschedule your flight tickets and hotel reservations.
- Nationality on the visa is as per the passport.
Also read: A guide to Visa on Arrival for Indians
Apart from confirming if the information on the visa sticker is correct, there are a few additional points that travelers should consider when travelling abroad:
- Your passport should be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the intended date of return from the visiting country. It should have minimum two (2) blank pages for immigration entry and exit stamps and should be issued within the last ten (10) years.
- If the visa is affixed on the old passport, ensure to carry both the new passport and the old passport with the visa in it.
- The travel dates on the flight ticket should fall within the visa validity, specifying entry and exit from the country. Traveler should make sure, he/she isn’t exceeding the stay period beyond the granted validity.
- Validity of the visa refers to the period within which the visa holder is allowed to enter. The number of entries refers to the number of times the visa holder is permitted to enter within the visa’s validity. Duration of stay refers to the longest period the visa holder is allowed to stay in the country on each visit, and this is counted from the day following entry into the country.
- When all the permitted entries are used up, the visa will no longer be valid. Even if there are unused entries, the visa will no longer be valid if the validity has already expired. In either case, the visa holder should apply for a new visa if another visit to the country is planned.
- The holder of the visa is eligible to enter at any time prior to the expiry of its validity provided that permitted entries on the visa have not been used up; the holder’s planned duration of stay must not exceed the duration stated on the visa.
- Overstaying is an Immigration offence. If you overstay, you may be subjected to a composition fine, prosecution in Court or even banned from entering again.
- The visa which has been granted is not an absolute guarantee that its holder will be allowed to enter the country. The final decision lies with the Immigration Officer at the entry point.
- Travelers must also meet entry requirements such as holding a valid passport, confirmed return flight tickets to home country or next destination, hotel reservation details, itinerary, invitation letter (if visiting relatives, friends or business associates) and sufficient funds for the period of stay (cash, debit/credit cards, traveler’s cheque etc).
- It is important to note that the visa fee is non-refundable, even for a rejected application.
- For international travel, always purchase a travel insurance for the entire trip duration for protection against any unexpected events such as flight delay or cancellation, baggage loss, medical emergencies etc.
At the time of planning your dream holiday, make a checklist of all the above points to ensure you don’t miss out on any. This will help to avoid any problems or extra costs arising due to such errors or negligence and consult a Travel Agent to understand the requirements for entering the country, as visa conditions vary depending on the purpose of visit, duration of stay and your nationality.
Stuff happens! Travel agents help you through the stuff. The firsthand experience of a travel agent is second to none. Our Experts have been there, done that and will give you the best advice on how to get the most out of your trip.