Sunday, 9 September 2012


I finally received my visa in the mail. It felt like it took forever but really it was only a short 11 business days from my appointment day to it being in my hands. I had worried that I hadn't filled out all the forms correctly or provided enough supporting documents and then there wouldn’t be a delay or worse yet, a rejection. In reality it wasn’t a hard process, just more tedious then anything. I probably stressed about it more than I should have, but I’d like to think that it wouldn’t have turned out the way it did if I hadn’t done the proper prep work.
            I applied for the ‘Youth Mobility Scheme’ which has some restrictions so doesn’t apply to everyone (ie. Limited to people in the age range, must be a Canadian Citizen etc.). I filled out the application online and made my appointment with the third party organization that takes the biometrics (not as scary as it sounds, fyi it’s fingerprints) and mails the forms to the Visa application centre.
           While I sat and waited for my number to be called in the very busy waiting room and watched the “Visit England, it’s great” video on repeat, I thought of  a few tips to share when applying for your visa.

       1. Take the day

It might not take the whole day for your appointment, but don’t you think it would be a lot less stressful when you don’t get seen at the exact appointment time (that won’t happen) and you have plans to drive to Montreal later that day with a group of friends who are now waiting for you at your house and you still have to pack? (This was a true story for a girl sitting behind me) If it takes less than 4 hours to complete consider yourself lucky and go enjoy a coffee or something else indulgent. You deserve it.

        2.  Have all paperwork with you and ready

Have all the paperwork they request ready to provide to them, if you don’t, they can probably find it for you, but they WILL charge you for it. $15 fee for printing the application you filled out online, what?! Save yourself money and grief by printing and bringing all paperwork you needed to fill out the application in the first place. 

          3.  Give enough turnaround time

Sometimes this can’t be helped because there is a deadline on the other end, ie school starting etc. but if you can be more flexible with when you leave this can save you some money by not having it express processed. The same girl behind me was slightly freaked about it taking too long because she already had her flight booked so had to pay the almost $200 express fee.

         4. Honey vs. vinegar

And when you finally do get up to the counter an hour and a half after your appointment time and after watching the “Visit England, it’s great” video at least a dozen times, and listened to the old woman beside you snorting back every 2 minutes, remember the old adage: Honey catches more flies than vinegar. Take a breath and smile.

When the woman behind the counter told me that the financial records I provided were too old because they should match the same date as the application (no where online does it say this!) I could have got upset, instead I asked her nicely what I could do. she figured out my plan of attack so that I could still get my application submitted that day and with not too much more trouble. Which brings me back to my first point. I’m glad I took the day and didn’t have to rush off anywhere and could take care of everything that day even with the hiccup.

These tips can be applied for any government agent visit. Getting your license renewed, updating your OHIP card, getting a passport etc. Sometimes it can be a very frustrating process, but is a necessary part of life.

Fun travels!

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