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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.
Please be advised that, in addition to all regular visa requirements, the following passport holders must include a copy of their smart I.D with the chip when applying for visas to Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Above is an example of the smart I.D card that is required:
Please take note that The Cameroon High Commission in Pretoria have advised that any Visa applications and other administrative documents shall be received exclusively on MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS and FRIDAYS from 09:30-12:00.
All applicants to submit a certified copy of the biometric page of the passport as part of their application pack.
Please be advised that, as of 5 February 2019, the processing time for Business and Tourist visas will be strictly 21 working days.
Please take note that the Embassy of Japan in Pretoria and the Office of Consul of Japan in Cape Town will be closed on the following days this year:
11 Feb (Mon) - National Foundation Day (Japanese Holiday)
21 Mar (Thu) - Human Rights Day
19 Apr (Fri) - Good Friday
22 Apr (Mon) - Family Day
1 May (Wed) - Worker's Day
17 Jun (Mon) - Youth Day (Substitute)
15 Jul (Mon) - Marine Day (Japanese Holiday)
9 Aug (Fri) - Women's Day
16 Sept (Mon) - Respect for the Aged Day (Japanese Holiday)
24 Sept (Tue) - Heritage Day
14 Oct (Mon) - Sport and Health Day (Japanese Holiday)
22 Oct (Tue) - Day of Enthronement Ceremony (Japanese Holiday)
4 Nov (Mon) - Culture Day (Japanese Holiday)
16 Dec (Mon) - Day of Reconciliation
25 Dec (Wed) - Christmas Day
26 Dec (Thu) - Day of Goodwill
30 Dec (Mon) - Year End Holiday (Japanese Holiday)
31 Dec (Tue) - Year End Holiday(Japanese Holiday)
The Japanese Embassy and Consul are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.