Another Rant about Visas…..

I’ve ranted a few times in the past that I think the whole visa application system in Thailand is a load of shit. It maybe the same all over the world, but my experiences are based in Thailand.

The whole ‘visa agency’ thing I think is a complete Con and I don’t see what they do which you can’t. Some might argue that they save time, but again I challenge that as they dont create the documentation that you need to submit.

All I see them doing is filling out an application form using the information that you’ve provided them. Which takes all of 15 minutes. At a cost of 20k+ bht. Not a bad gig that.

But as I said, you don’t have to use those clowns if you don’t want to.

Who you do have to use though, – is VFS. I assume the Embassy’s put these in place to filter out all the nonsense and idiots handing in unsuitable applications. I get that. But I am sure there are better Agencies out there who run a much more professional service.

Surely these people must get audited? When they submitted their business proposal to the Embassy’s – they must have detailed the kind of services they would provide?

Part of their service would surely be to provide enough seating? If you’re allocating appointments, then you know how many people you’ll be seeing an an hour. From that you can calculate how many people would accompany the applicant? Be that a partner, parent or agency facilitator. It’s not hard.

And if your business involves people filling out forms – then have desk-space for people to use instead of having to use walls.

If you demand that people make photocopies – have a decent photo-copier – and why charge more than double to photo-copy a page than anywhere else in the area?

The whole thing stinks. It’s a complete con.

Let me tell you of my latest experience. –

Miss Tim got her 5 year visa for the UK. Applied by us, not using a Visa Service, just direct, using minimal paperwork (no flights or bank statements) and all was golden.

Next up was the Schengun visa so we can visit some pals in Spain and France. As Spain will be the main country we visit, we applied for the Spanish (Schengun) Visa.

Went online… had a little read of the Spanish Embassy page. Similar requirement to the UK except as we have no address, they want to see that you have flights and hotels booked. Not a problem. Ten minutes later I had flights and hotel reservations.

I looked at the application form and downloaded it from the Spanish Embassy site. I took the initiative to type all the details onto the form – to make it a little easier to read for the person processing and also because I am a neat freak and I wanted it looking professional – and not like I had leaned on a wall to fill it in.

Everything present and correct. Copies made and off we headed to the Spanish Embassy (VFS) to hand in our application at the appointed time we had been given.

We arrived there 5 mins early, went to the reception and handed over the application ‘pack’ and 4000bht. They handed the application back and said it was the wrong form and MUST use their form. Which they handed over as a poor quality reproduction.

The form was IDENTICAL. FUCKING IDENTICAL. This put me into a fit of rage. If I were Bruce Banner, there would have been carnage and I would be taking up the opening piece of Stickmans weekly.

I had to transpose all the info to the new sheet. IDENTICAL. Then we were told to copy it. It just so happens they have someone sitting at a nasty old Xerox machine charging more for a copy than the copier is worth. Ahh… penny dropped. Making us photocopy it made them money. Totally pointless and a waste of my time.

Miss Tim went through a door which I was not allowed through so I went and stood next to all the other people waiting for friends/relatives/clients. I say ‘standing’ – as there were not enough chairs in the small cramped room.

After 30 mins Miss Tim came out and said they’d contact us when they have made a decision on the Visa.

I then flew off to work.

One week later Miss Tim got a call – saying her passport is now with VFS – in an envelope.

Now, why is it they can’t open it and let us know if there is a new shiny visa in there?

Oh, because that would be helpful and save people a lot of time and money that’s why. Heaven forbid for these people to use their few braincells and come up with a process that is helpful and justifies their existence.

We were pretty confident anyway. And – as we’re flying next week, if they did turn us down for the visa, then it’s too late to apply again – so we’ll just have to spend the time in the UK.

I told Miss Tim that we could pick the visa up on the way to the airport (the day before).

That would save her taking her life into her hands and getting a minivan to and from Bangkok.

But no, she wanted to pick it up asap. So off she went this morning.

Around 11am Miss Tim sent me a picture of her shiny new Schengun visa. She was happy.

Not so fast. Looking at the dates, I see the imbeciles have put the wrong month for it to start. It should start in September and not October. As shown on the application form and on the flight and hotel tickets. Marvellous.

I sent Miss Tim back to VFS to tell them. We can’t be the first people to ever have been issued a visa with the wrong dates. They must have procedures and processes of what to do in this event. These procedures would have been submitted and reviewed by official Embassy people when carry out the bid evaluation on the VFS tender for the contract. Or am I being silly by thinking some kind of logic was employed in this process?

Anyway, VFS took the passport back and said they’d go check the paperwork and see where the mistake was made. I still have my printed version of the application, so I know its not my mistake. And even if the application was wrong, doesn’t VFS check these? Would they not have checked the dates of the flights matched the dates of the visa request?

So I don’t see them suggesting that a mistake was made on the application, as they’d be shooting themselves in the foot.

But anyway, it wasn’t ours or VFS’s fault. It was the Spanish Embassy. However, mistakes do get made. I’ve probably even made a mistake myself at some point?

What pisses me off – is that when the passport was handed to VFS – why are they not allowed to open and check? They could then earn their money by getting it resolved.

Again, that’s logic.

Instead, they have to wait for the person to trek to the office and pick it up. This can take days.

So Miss Tim handed it back and VFS didn’t have any standard information on what would happen next or how it could be rectified. The just said they’d call in a few days.

Miss Tim went back to Hua Hin. She now has to sit and wait – and then go back down there to pick up a new, new visa.

Only when she gets there and opens it up personally, will she know if its correct.

So I ask once again, what the hell do those VFS staff do for their money? Because they’re certainly not providing a professional service.

Infact, because they are such incompetent clowns, I shall from now on look to visit Countries that we can access without having to deal with these halfwits.

Next week we’re going to the UK and ‘maybe’ Spain and France.

The next trip after that will be the Maldives – as no visa required.

**** UPDATE ****

Miss Tim received a call this morning from VFS – saying the passport has now been received back from the Embassy and Miss Tim is to collect it on Monday.

She asked if they can check it, as they have fucked up before and we don’t want to waste more time by going down there if it’s still wrong. But no.. VFS will not open the envelope and check. Thanks a fucking lot. Again I ask, what is it you are doing for your money?

It ‘should’ be o.k when she collects it Monday, but then, I have no confidence in their efficiency.

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