1. Sign Your Passport. Make sure your passport is signed! Your passport is not considered valid until it is signed. Check the identification, picture page of your passport.
2. Ensure extra pages in passport. When applying for a visa, make sure you have visa pages available – the Amendments and Endorsements pages at the end of your passport can not be used for visas.
3. Photos. Make sure the pictures are standard size pictures and meet standard photo ID requirements. Many passport and visa applications are rejected because they don’t meet the Passport Office requirements. We recommend using a local photo shop or chain pharmacy that specializes in passport photo services.
4. Extra photos. Include an extra copy of your passport photo in case your original photo is lost or mishandled. This is unfortunately a common issue.
5. Print Online Visa Applications. If you are submitting an online visa application required by some countries (Brazil or India for example), make sure you print a copy for your records and note your application number on your copy and the copy to be submitted to the Embassy (if applicable).
6. Receipt of payment. If you are required to submit payment to the embassy via an online consular service, keep a copy of the receipt for your records.
7. Fill out the application completely. Consular officers review applications thoroughly and will reject an application if it is incomplete or if they feel the application isn’t accurate or was rushed.
8. Allow enough processing time. Each embassy has a “normal” processing time which varies by country and should be carefully considered in the timing of your application. Some embassies process within days while others can take weeks. Some people are frustrated and surprised when they find out they cannot easily influence or rush a country’s visa application process and timeline.
9. Include contact information with passport. Make sure to include all relevant contact information both locally and abroad and attach it to your passport. Passports get lost during travel and this will make the process of retrieving your passport much more efficient.
10. Electronic copy of passport. Copy and scan your passport ID page and keep an electronic copy for your records.