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Our valued customers,
We are currently busy evaluating the list of the essential services and assessing exactly how the business will continue to operate during this time.
We will, of course, comply with our President’s requests and follow the rule of the law, whilst still maintaining the interest of our customers and your businesses.
We have set up our staff, who’s roles allow, to work from home and during this time we will remain available remotely. This work from home has been in place since last week. We have done this to keep our business running and also to protect the staff that are part of our team.
We will keep you updated, timeously, on how we will be managing this new landscape we are faced with for the next 21 days.
South Africans, the success of our response to the #coronavirus pandemic depends on the efforts of each and every citizen.
Please send any requests or concerns surrounding travel and visa restrictions to:
Visas Business Manager
In the spirit of appreciation for your continued support in 2019. We would like to say THANK YOU and extend our best wishes for a happy holiday season. We look forward to another successful year working together in the new year.
New South African passports for minors under the age of 18 are being issued, containing the details of both parents as a standard feature.
Children traveling on these new passports do not require any additional documentation when traveling abroad. (If accompanied by both parents. )
If minors under 18 traveling with parents are still traveling on old passports, the following additional documents will be required:
Copy of unabridged Birth Certificate
Copies of parents ID’s + consent letter from each parent not accompanying minor.
Both parents are required to appear at the interview for children below the age of 18 years or alternatively supply an affidavit specifying why the parent cannot be in attendance.
What you need to know
Reminder to please take note that Embassies/Consulates are going into their festive peak season and that they are taking their full processing times as per our website. www.visapak.net
There are currently delays with obtaining appointments at most Schengen Embassies/Visa Application Centers. Please submit your applications as soon as possible to avoid delays with applications.
Current available appointment dates - Subject to change without notice
Austria - 13 November (JHB)
France - 6 November
Germany - 11 November
Hungary - 21 November
Poland - 18 November
Please allow a minimum of 15 working days for normal visas and 7 working days for priority visas from the date of appointment. Pending availability
Due to high volumes of visa applications, the USA appointment system currently has a waiting period of 10 weeks to secure a date for submission. To avoid delays please forward your completed application forms and copy of passports so that MDS VisaPak can assist with loading and securing your appointment.
Durban - 13 January 2019
Johannesburg - 11 December 2019
Cape Town - 18 November
Lodgment of visa applications for the Christmas period has begun and we would like to provide some useful information to applicants to ensure that our requirements are clear, and we are able to focus on finalizing applications in an efficient and timely manner.
Please take note of the following points
Lodge a complete application. Processing officers are able to make a decision on an application at first sight. If they open an incomplete application they may refuse the application. The checklist provides details of the documentation we require.
Complete biometrics within the time frames. We recognize that as the peak season builds up the biometric appointments will also fill up quickly. If you can only make an appointment outside of the permitted time frame let us know. We can make a case note and arrange for a new letter to be sent out. If you don’t provide biometrics within 14 days (or otherwise negotiated) we will refuse your application.
Lodge early. The earlier you lodge the application, the more time we have to process and less stress for you. We will regularly update processing times on Twitter and Facebook. Please check these time frames for realistic expectations on when a decision will be made. The earlier an applicant lodges, the sooner finalization can be made, enabling the applicant to then purchase their flight tickets.
No expedited processing. Only a documented medical emergency will be considered for urgent processing. All other applications will be assessed on a lodgment date basis. Flight specials will not be considered an urgent or compassionate reason to jump the processing queue.
Follow up emails. In the lead up to Christmas, we will not be responding to requests for updates that are inside service standards. We will also not expedite because a client has purchased a ticket.
Requirements for Children. Please remind applicants of the requirements for traveling children as soon as inquiries are made. Ensure Form 1229 is signed by both parents and attached, along with copies of IDs or passports.
Pretoria Processing Times
The current processing time in Pretoria for subclass 600 tourist applications is 30 days.
This is now outside the 90% global aver-age processing time frame listed on www.homeaffairs. gov.au.
Subsequent Entrant applications do not have a time frame for processing. Priority is given to student applications.
The global average processing time should not be taken as a lodgement target date. During peak periods our processing time frames will increase. The times listed on the page shown below are updated monthly to reflect changing demands.
[Important] A ticket that has been purchased is not a reason for us to expedite an application.
We understand that business meetings may be scheduled at short notice. However, if we note that tickets or conferences have been booked but an application has not been lodged until the last minute we cannot expedite. We will prioritize business applications that are of benefit to Australia.
The Australian High Commission in Pretoria has reduced the processing times for subclass 600 tourist applications to 24 days. Subject to change without notice.
Each applicant is required to provide their PIDs (personal identifiers) as part of the visa application process. This requirement is linked to every application submitted by clients who reside in a biometric collection country. Regardless of the time passed between subsequent visa applications we require a new collection of biometrics per each visa lodgement.
The biometric request letter includes a time frame for the biometrics to be collected. If an applicant does not provide their biometrics within this time frame a case officer is entitled to refuse the application. We would appreciate if you could advise your clients that there is a time frame that they need to meet. We encourage all applicants to contact us if they will not meet this time frame so that a note can be made on their application. We are not able to issue multiple extensions but we can accommodate genuine reasons for appointments being made outside the initial time frame.
Who needs to provide their biometrics?
Every applicant is required to provide some form of biometric collection. Applicants aged 0 to 5 years only provide a facial photograph. From 5 years upwards a facial photograph and a full set of fingerprints are required.
When it comes to schoolchildren (minors) traveling it is very important to provide the unabridged birth certificate with the application, as well as consent forms (available from our website), a visa cannot granted to a child without an unabridged birth certificate.
Reminder to please take note that Schengen Embassies/Consulates are in their peak season and that they are taking their full processing times as per our website.
There are currently delays with obtaining appointments at all Schengen Embassies/Visa Application Centers. Please submit your applications as soon as possible to avoid delays with applications.
Please take into consideration the following Embassy processing times and delays with obtaining appointments for biometric submission:
Australia - 45 working days
United Kingdom - Normal process - 15 working days from date of appointment
- Priority process - 7 working days from date of appointment
DELAYS WITH APPOINTMENTS:
Kindly be advised that from Thursday 2 May 2019, the Italian application Centre Capago Johannesburg, Durban, and Pretoria will no longer process applications for Italy. All applications will be lodged through VFS.
Residents of the Cape Provinces will still apply at the Capago Cape Town offices.
MDS VisaPak will assist clients by checking applications, scheduling appointments, paying the visa costs and meeting the client at the application center to assist with the processing of the application.
Please be advised that the Australian High Commission's processing time is approximately 45 days from the date of biometric submission at the TLS application Centre.
The Australian High Commission strongly suggests that tickets should not be confirmed or purchased prior to visa approval.
All applicants must submit their biometrics at the TLS application centre within 10 days of the completion of the online application process. Incomplete applications will delay the online application process.
a.) UK Visa Processing:
When applying for a UK visa application MDS VisaPak will require all documents as per checklist and fully completed application form in order to assist with the UK application process and scheduling of appointments. All documents can be emailed to us and will be uploaded to the UK application site prior to the appointment for processing.
*The new system is in test phase until 27 March 2019
b.) UK Visas and Immigration is set to begin the main implementation process of its new online application service, Access UK, later this year.
The new platform replaces the Visa4UK website, which will be discontinued once the transition is complete, and aims to improve the customer experience with new technology and the digitisation of its services.
Digitisation will enable UK Visas and Immigration to make decisions on visa applications using digitally scanned copies of required documentation, rather than waiting for physical versions to arrive in the decision-making hub.
The main phase will also see the roll-out of technology that will allow customers to self-scan their biometrics when attending their visa application centre appointment, providing a quicker, smoother experience.
Some of the other enhancements will allow customers to book their visa application centre appointment, scan and upload their supporting documentation from home, and purchase any additional services that are intended to enhance their experience, in one continuous journey.
Customers can continue to upload documents to support their application up until the day of their appointment, MDS VisaPak will do this on their behalf. This development means that the majority of customers no longer have to submit their original documentation, though customers will still need to provide their passport in order for a vignette to be placed, should they be granted a visa.
Applicants also have the option of scanning their documents at the visa application centre for a fee, additional fees will be applicable.