3. Visa applications are more complicated than we give them credit for.
Or at least for myself as a domestic student and Australian citizen, who’s never had to apply for any kind of visa before. It’s a process that is just as long and complicated as a passport application. Not to mention the fact that I had to post my actual passport to the other side of the country as a part of my visa application, which in itself was a nerve-racking experience considering I forgot to take a photocopy beforehand. There’s a lesson in that kids, always always always have a photocopy of your passport. When you get a new passport, make it the first thing you do. Or the second, if you’re like me and feel the need to spend a few minutes reeling in the absolute inaccuracy of your passport photo.
Another quick lesson, have a few copies of your passport photo. That way when one is required for your visa application you don’t have to go and get another set taken. Which can be an ordeal in itself when you have to chose between a paperclip or glue to keep the hair out of your face because you forgot to have a bobby pin handy that day.
Also, make sure you know exactly what you need for your visa well in advance of actually launching it. Have what you can ready at hand, so that when you finally get the other stuff you’re waiting on (in my case a letter of acceptance from my host university and confirmation of accommodation) you can do your application straight away as cool as a cucumber. You don’t want to do what I did when I received my acceptance from my host university in the middle of exam period and have a minor panic attack when I realised all the stuff for my visa that I needed but didn’t have.
In my defence, the Austrian visa application process had just been overhauled, and some stuff about the new process still confused me, but to tell the truth if I had been a bit more organised it might have helped. Just a bit. And let’s not mention the fact that when the embassy did received my application, they had to call me a few times for extra documents. Follow my advice and you might not end up with a paranoia about phone calls from numbers beginning with 02, the ACT area code.