I recently received my Japanese Visa and it inspired me to put up this post about some of the common mistakes to avoid during visa applications. I am no stranger to visa applications and the requirements, sometimes, stringent, to visit certain countries.
As a Nigerian Passport holder who loves to travel both leisurely and for work, I have had my fair share of applications. No matter how often I go through the process, I still get very nervous to hear the decision of the visa officer. One thing I make sure to do though, is to pay very close attention to my applications before I submit them.
In this post, I am going to talk about some of the most common reasons for visa rejections and how you can avoid these mistakes to improve your chances of a successful application. Please note that it is ultimately up to the visa officer to grant or reject your visa.
This post does not guarantee a positive response. Its aim is to give you a few ideas about mistakes to avoid during visa applications and how you can strengthen yours.
With that being said, let’s get into the details!
What's Covered in this Post
Mistakes to Avoid During Visa Applications: #1 – Having an Incomplete or Incorrect Application Form
This may seem trivial but the fact is that your visa appraisal starts from here and a small mistake here can cost you big time. For some application process, you don’t even get an interview. The decision is made based on the information provided in these forms.
Therefore, when filling out them out, be sure to present information clearly, completely and correctly. If something does than apply to you, rather than leaving the spaces blank, always put “N/A”.
Missing or incorrect information can often lead to delays in processing times or even rejection.
Mistakes to Avoid During Visa Applications: #2 – Having Insufficient Supporting Documents
The visa officer’s job is to decipher whether you have truthfully stated your intent. For example, if you are applying for a tourist visa, their job is probe you via an interview or your documentation that you will return to your home country once your visit is over.
It is your job to provide documents that support your application. Be sure to comb through the requirements on the immigration website of the respective country you’re applying to and include additional documents that may not be stated to show proof of home ties.
Some of the documents to include are your employment and promotion letters, admission or letter from your school (if you’re a student), marriage certificates, proof of home or business ownership and so on.
Mistakes to Avoid During Visa Applications: #3 – Having Insufficient Proof of Funds
Having insufficient proof of funds is one of the most common reasons for visa rejections. Many people often believe that the balance in your account is the only amount considered during the processing of your visas but this is not always the case.
Many visa officers take a look at your bank transactions in the statements provided over time and makes certain decisions based on these transactions. Therefore, it is not enough to have a lump sum amount in your account when you apply.
Your transaction inflows and outflows must also be consistent with your declared income and should prove that you are financially able to cover the costs of your travels.
Mistakes to Avoid During Visa Applications: #4 – Having Unexplained Bulk Sums in your Account
This is one of the most common mistakes to avoid during visa applications – which is transferring a huge sum of money right before your application, with the aim of convincing the visa officer that you have enough to cover your trip.
This is a huge red flag and is often the basis for a rejection. If you unavoidably have such large sums coming into your account, for example, if you’re a homeowner who just received rent, make sure to include a cover letter and accompanying receipts to show the source of this amount.
#5 – Submitting your Passport with Less than 6 months Validity or Less than Two Free Pages
Several embassies or consulates have this as a requirement but sometimes, it is overlooked by travellers and becomes the basis for a visa denial.
This is not the case for every consulate or embassy but to be on the safe side, always ensure that your passport has over 6 months validity and at least two free pages for the visa sticker and stamp.
Mistakes to Avoid During Visa Applications: #6 – Lying about your Travel History or Previous Visa Denials
This one goes without saying. Don’t lie about anything on your application, and most especially, don’t lie about previous visa denials. At best, if that lie is caught (and it will most likely be), the visa will be denied but lying about previous denials may also result in a ban.
It certainly isn’t worth it. If your circumstances have significantly changed between when you received a visa denial and when reapplying, it will be taken into consideration during the visa processing.
Mistakes to Avoid During Visa Applications: #7 – Applying Late or too Close to your Travel Dates
I remember seeing a sign at the South Korean embassy stating that visa application submitted within 14 days of the travel date will not be considered. The visa did come out in 6 days but it was not worth risking submitting the application late.
As a rule of thumb, you should submit your application at least 3 weeks to your travel date. Many embassies begin to receive applications for up to 3 months before your travel date. The earlier you can apply, the better, as this will save you stress and might also save you money in early flight bookings and hotel deals!
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can increase your chances of a smooth and successful visa application process. Once again, these suggestions do not guarantee a positive outcome, that is always only up to the visa officer. Good luck with your next application and hope you have a wonderful adventure!
Please feel free to share more tips in the comment section below or let me know if you have any questions about visa applications in general!