iVisa is an online visa service that issues visas and travel documents online.
Sometimes it's easy to apply for a visa through an embassy website, while at other times the process is complex, hard to follow, and an all-round hassle you could really do without.
Oftentimes you have to visit an embassy or consulate, or at least apply online. And then, typically, you can't get through to anyone to enquire about your application and get an answer as to when it will be complete.
So, for a fee, you can hand the process off to iVisa and they'll take care of it swiftly and securely, and provide you with a customer support team you can follow up with.
So how exactly does this process work?
I've used iVisa for a visa to Vietnam and it worked out well for me. True, I could have done it myself, but I'm all for outsourcing where it makes sense. It saved me time, which is time better spent writing articles for this blog.
Anyway, here's an overview of the service; what it is and how it works.
What does iVisa do?
iVisa issues visas online for countries with visa-restricted entry. For many countries you have to visit an embassy or consulate to obtain a visa, or apply upon arrival, both of which are time consuming. iVisa circumvents this process and issues you a visa online, drastically reducing the application time.
iVisa guarantees that your application will be processed fastest than anywhere else.
What is an e-Visa?
An e-Visa is a digitally issued visa that is electronically linked to your passport. It is an official document that is printable, and must be printed, one sided, on blank, white A4 paper. iVisa also issues traditional paper visas where they are required.
Is iVisa a legitimate company?
Yes. The company has issued over 500,000 visas since its inception in 2013, and is rated as Excellent on Trust Pilot, with 33,000 reviews. The company also provides health declarations, invitation letters, and passport photos.
What is a health declaration?
A health declaration is a formal document that confirms you are not suffering from symptoms of COVID-19 or any other contagious illness. Many countries currently require this document as part of the entry clearance process.
How long is the application process?
On average it takes around 5 minutes to apply on the website. The process is as follows:
- Select the country you require a visa for.
- Select the type of visa and follow the instructions.
- Select ‘Apply Now'
- Fill in the application form as instructed.
- Pay using a Visa card, MasterCard or other debit card.
- Once approved you will be notified by email. You can then download and print the e-Visa from your account on the iVisa website.
- You must show your printed e-Visa to the immigration officer at the port of entry.
What if I make a mistake on my application?
The iVisa immigration specialists do check applications for mistakes and may spot one prior to submission, in which case you will be notified. However, the onus is on you to make sure your details are correct. You cannot change your application once it has been submitted to the embassy of the country you are visiting.
How fast will my visa be issued?
The speed of the process depends on the requirements of the country you are applying for.
For example, an e-Visa for Australia (ETA) or Turkey can be processed within 15 minutes using the Rush service, whereas an India Tourist Visa takes at least 24 hours. The estimated processing time can be found on your application form.
For visas that typically take longer, such as the UK Visit Visa, you can choose between a few processing options, as follows:
- Standard Processing: If you have a tight budget, this is the most affordable service.
- Rush Processing: A faster service for those in a hurry.
- Super Rush Processing: A premium service that puts you at the front of the queue.
My Vietnam visa arrived back in 5 days. Using the embassy route the process apparently takes 7-10 working days, or 2-3 weeks by mail.
How much does iVisa charge?
For my Vietnam visa I paid $50 all together. That was $25 for the government fee (the visa fee), and $25 for the iVisa processing charge. It took me 5 minutes to apply, so I consider this worthwhile.
The cost of other visas varies depending on the country.
I'm in Thailand, can I use iVisa?
Yes. For example, as a UK national in Thailand I can use iVisa to apply for a visa to enter Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
Can I track my application on iVisa?
Yes. When you place an order you are given account details. You can use these details to login to your account and see the status of your application.
Couldn't I just apply by myself?
Yes, of course. The point of iVisa is that you pay a fee on top of the visa cost to obtain your visa faster, and to avoid the hassle of attending an embassy or consulate, or having to deal with difficult websites and confusing information.
The latter is beneficial for those whose native language isn't English, because the iVisa site can be accessed in just about every language.
Do I get a refund if I'm refused a visa?
Yes. iVisa refund their processing fee. However, the government of the country you are applying for will not refund the visa fee. This is standard practice.
In Quick Summary
iVisa is one of those services you can do with and do without.
If you have plenty of time on your hands, and the patience, you can apply for a visa yourself through the normal channels, which is usually via an embassy or consulate of the country you want to visit. Occasionally it's through a third party such as VFS (for UK and Australian visas).
In some cases you could save between 2 and 5 days in processing time verses applying through the normal channel. This is pretty handy if you are tight for time, or taking a spontaneous trip.
It's about weighing up the cost of opportunity. You are paying a processing fee on top of the visa fee, but the time you save could be better spent doing something you enjoy, or working, perhaps.
It's less stress, and for me, having had a pretty stressful life thus far, I'm quite happy for someone to take some of my shoulders.
On the lower cost visas for countries like Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam the fee is quite small ($25). On the bigger visas, say for the UK, it might cost you $100 or more in a processing fee – it all depends on how much work iVisa has to do on their end.
Either way, it's an efficient service and one that you might just need if you want a speedy turnaround. It also has great reviews across the board, which instils confidence in the company's competence.