Thursday, April 10, 2014

Visa Matters: Getting Turkish Visa on Pakistani Passport

Last month a colleague applied for Turkish Tourist visa through their embassy in Karachi. Since securing a visa on the green passport is never a walk in the park so I thought to share the experience for a reference.

DIY: Do It Yourself
First he tried to go DIY; collected information from the internet, downloaded and printed visa forms, arranged all the required documentation including photographs, bank statement, employer’s certificate, et cetera. He had already booked flights, accommodation, and even the car rental for himself and the family; again all DIY through internet and without engaging a travel agent.

Loaded with all that paperwork he visited the embassy to submit visa applications as per the schedule given on their website. Had it been this simple, there would have been little sense of writing this post. So yes there is a twist indeed:

A is for Agents
Outside the embassy, there was a long slow moving queue. It seemed certain that even people ahead, who arrived much earlier, would not be able to even cross the entrance gate in time. So my colleague abandoned the idea and left his place to explore other options.

Inevitably, he and I then contacted a couple of travel agents to know that the embassy wants to see applicants in person and there is no way around but to join the queue. One of the agents informed that the queue starts as early as 2am and that there are cameras installed in case one resorts to the proxy!

Back to DIY
Without much option, the colleague decided to give that another try. This time he reached around couple of hours before the opening time; 8 am versus 10, and contrary to what the agent suggested, there were few people ahead of him. The gate opened half an hour before the schedule and the guards let the batch of 12 people come inside and seated until the visa counter opened.

Rest was more straightforward; the visa officer checked all the documents then and there and after finding them in order advised the pick-up date – around 15 working days post submission.

So now my colleague is waiting for the visa and I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Happy Ending
At the end of the day it was not as difficult as it sounded earlier, although required a little bit of effort and persistence. For me, the good part was that the embassy cut off the middle men which is not so easy in Pakistan but to serve the cause fully the process should be made easier and more friendly.