With strict travel visa regulations in place, the added costs of visa applications and the risks of being denied a visa are becoming a concern for most people. We had a chat with Nick Paul, Social Media Manager at Travelstart, about the visa-denied policy.
What is the “Visa Denied Policy” and what costs are involved?
Travelstart’s visa-denied service is the first of its kind in South Africa and covers travellers for the cost of their flights in the event that their visa application is denied. With many tickets to Europe costing over R7 000 and flights to the US often over R10 000, the R279 cost of the service can save a traveller thousands of rands.
Why is there such a need for this service?
We have noticed that a large number of travellers have had their visa denied in the past. In fact, our research shows that one in 10 travellers has had to cancel or postpone a trip due to visa-related issues. More embassies are requiring travellers to apply directly with them and often the information and checklists the embassies provide are very confusing. The risk of visa denial is now greater than ever before. A service like ours takes unnecessary worry out of planning a trip.
Why would a travel visa be denied?
Travel is most often denied on the grounds of incorrect or insufficient supporting documentation. With document checklists from embassies often trying to cater for many different situations (for example, self-employed travellers, housewives, pensioners and students all require different supporting documents), travellers can easily make the mistake of bringing the wrong or insufficient documentation to the embassy when applying for their visa. If the embassy is not satisfied, they reserve the right to deny a traveller a visa.
What are the three ways to boost your chances of having a visa application approved?
I’d suggest travellers use a travel agent where possible, someone that can advice on the documentation needed. Always try to apply for your visa as long in advance as possible to allow for any complications, and also make sure your finances are in good order, as inactive bank accounts or outdated statements can make the embassies uncomfortable.
Do you know of any plans to increase visa-free travel access for South Africans?
The only country to be added to the visa-free list for South Africans recently was Turkey (in October 2011), although technically, it means you get a free visa on arrival. Sadly, there don’t seem to be any plans as yet to grant South Africans wider visa-free travel. Hopefully better trade and travel agreements can be negotiated between governments in the future.
* For more information, call 0861 878 278, or visit: www.travelstart.co.za