Relocating to a foreign country can be a daunting prospect, whether for work, business opportunities, or anything else. Not only will you have to deal with the actual move itself, but you will have to contend with the visa process. Depending on the country you wish to relocate to, this can be fraught with expected and unexpected challenges! The truth is that if you know a bit about the process ahead of time, you will most likely avoid mistakes and may be able to adjust relatively easily. This post will help you navigate the road that lies ahead and outline some of what you can expect.
What Is A Visa?
Before going into too much detail about the processes and what you should do to make your life easier, it is worth explaining what a visa is. In its most basic form, a visa is a document that allows a person to enter and exit a country. The country’s government usually issues it to someone who wants to visit it. However, there are many types that take different forms in different countries. The most common include:
- Visitor: This is typically the visa you need to apply for if traveling into a particular country. Some countries require that you use them in advance, while others issue them on arrival. In most cases, they are single entry and don’t usually last longer than 180 days.
- Business: If you want to set up a business or travel for business reasons, you might apply for a business visa. In some cases, they might offer a few extra perks over a standard visitor visa (as in the case of a golden visa discussed later). But in most cases, they are similar and only allow you to work in the country within the remit you applied for.
- Family: A family visa tends to be multiple entry and can last anywhere from a month to years. They are often issued to those who have family in the country and wish to visit them. You will usually have to prove that you can support yourself and won’t be granted any benefits that your local family receives.
- Diplomatic: This visa is only open to members of the diplomatic corps and their families.
Depending on the country you want to relocate to, these visas will have different names and possibly even subcategories.
Understand What Visa You Will Apply For
Now that you have a deeper understanding of what a visa is, you should consider what type of visa you should apply for. This will vary massively depending on the country you are relocating to, so you will have to do your own research. In addition, some types of visas require some form of investment which you will have to factor in.
For example, Many countries offer what are known as golden visas, which enable you to settle in the country far more efficiently than conventional methods. The Portugal Golden Visa is one of the most famous as it provides an opportunity to fast-track your way to residency after only a few years. Moreover, you only need to stay in the country for seven days each year (although most people would want to stay there all year round!).
Get Ready To Rifle Through Your History
Most countries want to know who you are and your history before they blindly allow you free reign within their borders. Unless you are applying for a tourist visa, your chosen country will likely require you to present your entire life to them for processing. If you haven’t kept good records, this can be a challenge, but it is usually a requirement. In some cases, you can apply for new documentation like birth certificates, criminal record histories, etc. In contrast, you will have to see if you can use alternatives in other cases. In many cases, you will need the following:
- Criminal record history
- Financial information
- Where you have lived for the past x years
- Information about your old passports and where you have traveled
- Your work history
- Proof of tax payments
This is only a basic overview of some of the documentation that might be required, and each country will have more lenient or more strict regulations regarding this.
Prepare Yourself For Lots Of Questions
In a similar fashion to the previous point, you must prepare your mind for a multitude of questions. Some might be pretty intrusive but are necessary if you want to progress. Also, get ready to leave your preconceived notions of rights and freedoms in your country of origin because every country is different. If you think you will find it challenging to answer intrusive questions, you could find your application rejected.
Some of these questions might pertain to your sexuality (this is rare, but some countries can be strict about this), your marriage situation, how many children you have, the status of your family members, and more. In order to be better prepared, you will have to perform your own research and find out what will be asked of you. Most countries will list these things on their websites, while you might have to trawl through online forums for others. Some of the more common questions you might be asked include:
- Why do you want to relocate?
- How long do you see yourself living here?
- Where will you be staying?
- Are you financially stable?
- Do you have sufficient cover in case of emergency?
Learn The Language
Learning the local language can make the process go so much more efficiently. If you can converse and joke in the local dialect, you will find that officials become much friendlier and things run more smoothly. It also shows the immigration officials that you are serious about adding value to the country. Nonetheless, it would be best to learn the language simply because it will make your life better when you finally arrive. You can make friends, find employment or hire locals more easily and immerse yourself in the culture.
Your visa process may go down differently from what was mentioned here, as every country has different laws and regulations. Nevertheless, hopefully, you learned a few things to expect when you apply for your visa to get your new life off to a good start.