Foreign Ministry advises applying for visa ahead of time

Temporary UK Visa application centre set up at Foreign Ministry. (Photo/Foreign Ministry)

Foreign Ministry, on Sunday, has advised locals traveling abroad to countries that require visas to complete visa applications ahead of time.

In a statement released today, the Ministry underscored that regulations regarding visas are laid down by the issuing country, with the respective country having full authority over the procedure from visa application processing period, submission of various supporting documents and in some cases, the requester having to present themselves at the relevant diplomatic mission for biometrics and interviews.

“The Ministry provides assistance for Maldivians traveling to foreign countries which do not have a diplomatic mission established in the Maldives to acquire their visas. Nevertheless, visa will only be issued in accordance with certain regulations, under the authority of the issuing country. Therewith, visa applications should be filed ahead of time,” the statement read.

Citing that sending visa applications and passports through the Ministry’s diplomatic pouches in circumstances which calls for it, and having it returned is consumes a significant amount of time, Foreign Ministry advised locals to be more mindful.

They stressed having observed a recent trend of locals seeking to expedite visa applications after filing the application short of time, and without attaching the necessary documents – explaining this having led to repeated instances of not getting the visa before the date of departure.

Pointing out that many countries’ diplomatic missions to Maldives, including that of Schengen countries, are based in Sri Lanka – which is currently faced an economic crisis as well as shortage of energy – Foreign Ministry said that operations of visa centers and embassies have been deeply impacted as a result, with working hours and appointments being significantly cut down.

The Ministry also cited constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is another reason why early applications are recommended.

Hence, Foreign Ministry have urged locals traveling abroad to countries requiring visa to submit applications alongside documents and secure appointments ahead of time.

The Ministry also reiterated their commitment to seek easements in the process of acquiring visas for local travelers.