Some things you might need to know when applying for a visa

I had to go through the hassle of applying for a Visa last month. While it would have been a smooth procedure for just about anyone, Murphy decided to make things otherwise in my case. What I went through is something I won’t wish upon my worst enemy (then again, I might). So here is a list of caveats you’re likely to encounter. Note that I’m an Indian citizen applying for a Portuguese Visa.

  1. Getting an Apostille/non-Apostille attestation from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA):
    This for me, was the biggest issue I’d ran into, hence, I’m listing it as the first. Different countries expect either of the Apostille or the non-Apostille attestation from the MEA. Now the catch is, before these people attest your document for you, they will expect you to get it verified from a trusted source. This usually equates to your State’s Home Department. In case of Educational documents, it is the Education Department of the State from where you got the respective degree. This implies that if you completed your Class X from state A, Class XII from state B, and your bachelor’s degree from state C, you’re fucked. You’ll need to visit the respective Education Departments of each of these states and have them ‘authenticate’ or ‘verify’ your document. What they will do is put a seal on your original document claiming that it is a valid and legitimate document.Once you do that, you’ll need to go to the MEA office at Patiala House, New Delhi, in order to get the Apostille/non-Apostille attestation. Make sure you have sufficient photocopies of your documents, and that you carry Postal Order stamps of INR 50 for each document that you want attested. You’ll need to get there a little early, lest the queue builds up. The timing for submission of documents for attestation is 9:00AM to 12:00PM. Once you submit it, they’ll hand you a receipt. You’ll need to produce this receipt after 4:00PM in the evening of the same day, which is the distribution time for attested documents.
  2. Police Clearance Certificate:
    If the country you are to visit expects you to produce a Police Clearance Certificate for your Visa application, then you have two options ahead of you. The first method, is the one I recommend. Simply apply with the Miscellaneous Services form at your respective Regional Passport Office. If you had to undergo a police verification recently (in the last 6 months), you will be given your PCC on the same day that you apply. I applied at the Malappuram (Kerala) RPO, and over there it seemed like _everyone_, was getting their PCC’s on the very day, even if their passports were a couple of years old. The other option that you have would be to approach the Police Commissioner’s Office of your locality. Getting the PCC from here is a hassle. You’ll need to run around like crazy, bribe if you have to, and once you get the PCC, do NOT, forget to get it authenticated/verified from your state’s Home Department. Otherwise, the MEA won’t attest it for you. On the other hand, the PCC that you get from the RPO can be directly taken to the MEA for attestation.
  3. Verify the documents’ checklist on the Embassy’s web site one day before you apply:
    I had to spend an extra 7 days running around for my visa because of this. The day I’d gone to the Portuguese Visa Application centre run by VFS, I was told that I need to get my educational documents attested by the MEA as per a new rule the Embassy introduced _two days before_. Yes. That sucks. So make sure you get all your documents verified beforehand so that you needn’t run back to your respective states if such a scenario arises.

That’s as much as I can think of now. If you’d like to add anything here, feel free to comment below.


13 thoughts on “Some things you might need to know when applying for a visa

  1. Bharath Kumar

    Thanks for the info.
    I have a query. Are these documents required for a short term Schengen visa? I am offered a summer internship in Portugal. It’s for around 75 days. I haven’t yet finshed my Bachelor’s degree yet. I am still a student. So, am I supposed to submit the above said documents? The Schengen visa checklist doesn’t mention about the above documents.
    It would be of great help to me if you could clarify me with this.


    1. Lalith Suresh

      You only need those documents that are mentioned on the website. In any case, it would help to call the VFS and confirm the exact documents you need.

  2. Aseem

    Hello, this is good info. When they say “educational documents attested by the MEA” do they mean that one has to get all the marksheets also attested? Or just the final University certificate attestation is good enough? Agents charge about 5K for each document. I have 6 marksheets from govt Poytechnica Goa, 3 marksheets from Shivaji University maharashtra+ std 10 + final passing cetificates. If I have to get all of them attested, I’m finished! Yes this rule wan’t there in 2009 — I had obtained VISA then but couldn’t travel. Now I plan to apply again but I’m unsure because of thsi new rule..Please advice. Thanks!

    1. Lalith Suresh

      For proof of university education, only the final degrees are required (that was all I presented). If for some reason you want to present your 10th and 12th grade certificates, you would need to get both the final marksheet and the “pass certificates” attested together (MEA rule).

      So in short, getting only your final degrees from university attested by the MEA will do.

  3. Lalith Suresh

    Just the final degree. Like I said, the only I showed was my attested provisional degree from undergrad.

  4. Aseem

    Lalith, one other question i forgot to ask regarding PCC issued by passport office. do you have to get this attested by HRD/ state home dept before MEA Apostile stamping? Or can I take it straight to MEA without the intermediate step?

    1. Lalith Suresh

      The PCC issued by the Passport Office can be taken directly to the MEA for Apostle stamping. I had done it that way.

  5. merina

    Is it necessary to do home ministry attestation for pcc from same state from where it is issued or can it be done from mumbai?

    1. lalithsuresh Post author

      If you’ve collected the PCC from the passport office, it doesn’t need any further attestation. If you collected it from a police station, you need to get it attested by the home ministry of the state from where it was issued.


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