Visiting an Embassy for your Visa Paperwork

I frequently get a question about what to take to the embassy when applying for a visa and the answer is always the same: Take everything!

Take your degree(s) and copies of it (if applicable). Take your TEFL certification and copies of it. Take your transcripts and copies of it. Take your passport and copies of the ID page. Take several professional passport photos (check the embassy’s website for specifics on size and background color). Take your resume/CV and copies of it. Take everything your future employer sent you and copies of all of that.

Did I mention that you should take copies?  Take a big folder with everything in it. Everything.  And a copy of everything.  Do you copy that?

What’s this mission about taking everything?

To some degree it actually has nothing to do with the job, but it is all about with the embassy and consulate workers.  Now . . . only my opinion, but they can often (not always) be very uncooperative and have an attitude of entitlement. If they can find a way to avoid doing and processing all your petty paperwork, they will find a way.

The way they go around avoiding your work is to ask what you have brought and what you can provide. Sometimes they will read a long list of things they want – things that are not always required – just to look for a reason to send you away and hoping that someone else will deal with you when you come back the next time.  Or maybe you will just go away forever.

You might even look into a face of disappointed embassy worker when you show up with literally everything because that means they have to process your paperwork. They might even make you feel like a trouble maker.

In all fairness – working in an embassy or consulate can be a difficult and unhappy job.  Embassy and consulate workers take the brunt of our frustration and can even be targets for terrorists and other political plays.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Take everything and copies of everything. Take more photos than required.

TED’s Tips™ #2: It’s not personal – it is just one of those cultural games you will play while living abroad.

You can even get this kind of attitude from your own country’s embassy. You will still need to visit your own embassy from time to time for a variety of paperwork, passport renewals, notarized documents, etc.  Don’t assume your own country’s embassy will be more cooperative.  They can sometimes be even worse.

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