This could be a passport, visa, travel authority, birth certificate, police check, consent, security process, licence, business registration or any other number of government systems. In reality this is a knowledgebase covering various how to’s which may help your government process journey. We do not act for any agency. We are using technical knowledge gained over years to provide some insight.
This document Will end up as a support Knowledgebase, extended to help when you most need it. Please support our help to the people.
Many people share their difficulties when applying for government services worldwide. This document lists common problems and ways to overcome them, hoping to help you have a smoother experience. This guide will be updated, so if you have more experiences or suggestions, please let us know.
Before making any bookings or agreeing to a contract, make sure to check the forecasts from the agency. If possible, hold off on such commitments until your required document is officially approved.
Unless it’s an immediate process like obtaining a border visa upon arrival, government procedures don’t come with guaranteed timeframes. While there are service level agreements and estimates provided by support services, it’s not as precise as tracking an online pizza order. Even if a website states that applications are typically processed in ten days, be prepared for some to take up to two months. Words like “estimate,” “generally,” “usually,” “often,” “may,” “could,” and “so many % within” don’t represent fixed deadlines; they’re approximations. Due to this variability, unless it’s for a critical humanitarian reason approved by the agency, avoid making any further bookings or confirmations until you have the document in hand. It’s unlikely that officers will consider a pre-booking as a valid reason to expedite an application.
How do estimated timeframes get calculated?
The calculation of estimated government process timeframes varies among different government system operators. Agencies often use aggregated data to determine common timeframes, such as 80% completion times and medium processing times. This data is typically based on recent historical records and serves as the foundation for estimating application processing durations. However, it’s important to note that these estimates are not absolute. For example, if a website states an average processing time of 20 days or claims that 90% of applications are processed within 30 days, it is still an approximation. In reality, processing times can range anywhere from 2 days to 200 days, and there are valid reasons for this variability.
It’s worth noting that certain categories, such as Merchant, Navy shipping, military, government, embassy staff, special border exceptions, and government-sponsored activities, operate under different guidelines and may have distinct processing procedures.
How do I accelerate my application?
To expedite your application, you may request urgent consideration. Please consult the contact center or refer to their website for the current policy regarding urgency. Keep in mind that this option typically applies to truly humanitarian or critical situations. Here are steps you can take:
Thoroughly review the website and/or contact center information to understand what qualifies as urgent and the proper procedure to follow. Adhering to these guidelines is crucial, as deviating from them may lead to delays in your application process.
Your application will progress through various stages, starting from the draft phase (where you prepare the application) to processing, assessment, and completion.
Determine at which specific stage you can request urgency.
There are various stages your application will go through. From draft (where you prepare the application) to processing stages, assessment and completion.
Confirm if there is an assigned case officer and whether you can contact them via email.
Only use email communication when absolutely necessary, as every interaction can potentially extend the processing time.
If you are eligible to apply for urgency, consider including a cover letter with your application, or use the designated online template/form to formally request special consideration. Always ensure you follow the approved method, as using any other process may lead to complications in your application process.
What should you not do?
The following activities will extend the time it takes to process your application:
- Every email or call will be added to your file and can add to the time it takes to consider your application. That is because this usually triggers a micro-assessment by officers to check the reason for the communication. It can also cause normally automated steps to hold causing massive delays.
- Do not submit your application then email/call to check the status even though you know it has been submitted. Usually you will get a confirmation, online or by email/text, or at the time of submission.
- Do not call every day/two days etc. You will spend hours waiting and add to records.
- Do not email every few days for the same reason. Every communication is recorded on your file.
- Do not upload random documents or pleas just in the hope you will get escalated. Check out what you should do and follow the correct procedures. Always ask first if you are new to this.
My application is undergoing verifications checks. What does this mean?
Depending on the type of document being applied for, applicants will undergo various verification checks. Some of these processes are partially automated, involving checks for pre-existing records and the validity of health or other related criteria. However, several verifications are intrinsic to government procedures. These include:
Valid Medicals for Special Activities:
- This involves assessments such as general medical examinations and X-rays for specific activities like work, Electronic Travel Authorities, or visas. Additionally, consideration is given to whether any prior medical assessments have future requirements.
- Government agency websites typically provide guidance on whether a Police check is required and where to obtain one. It is reasonable to assume that for activities or purposes with a lengthy validity period (e.g., 12 months), if you haven’t had a recent check, the host country may request a new Police check, including in your home country. These checks, often referred to as Third Party checks, have processing times that are independent of call center operations and timetables. For example, if you are asked for a Police Check from your home country, which takes three weeks, this will extend the processing time. Tip: If you suspect you may be requested to provide one, it is advisable to initiate the process sooner rather than later.
- These checks may be known as International Security Checks or National Security Checks. Essentially, a government agency, on behalf of the host country, requests a security check from your home country. This constitutes another form of Third Party Check and operates outside the processing timeline of your application. Advisors do not have control over these checks, and they cannot be expedited or interfered with. They are managed by third-party government entities. Attempting to influence these checks can lead to their failure and necessitate a restart.
Note: We have seen these done within 24 hours but also many that can take several months.
- This could be confirming identities, checking historical data is correct, sometimes you may have more than one file (so a file merge needs to happen.) Advisors may tell you it is undergoing internal verification. They can not normally see just what verification process is going on and the timeframe again is out of their hands. You will need to be patient. It is a normal process.
- For certain types of applications, especially those related to business licenses, permits, or financial transactions, government agencies may conduct checks to ensure applicants meet specific financial requirements or have the necessary resources.
- In cases where applicants are required to provide references, government agencies may verify the authenticity and credibility of these references to ensure they are relevant and trustworthy.
Educational Qualification Checks:
- For applications that involve educational credentials, government agencies may verify the authenticity of diplomas, degrees, or certifications to ensure they meet the required standards.
- In cases where employment history or current employment status is relevant, government agencies may conduct checks to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant.
- Verifying the identity of an applicant is a fundamental step in many government processes. This may involve cross-referencing official documents, such as passports or national IDs, with other forms of identification.
- Government agencies may verify an applicant’s current or permanent address to ensure accurate and up-to-date contact information.
Legal Compliance Checks:
- In some cases, government agencies may verify that applicants are in compliance with relevant laws and regulations, such as tax obligations or licensing requirements.
It’s important to note that the specific verification processes used can vary widely depending on the nature of the application and the policies of the government agency involved. Applicants should always refer to the official guidance provided by the relevant authorities for accurate information about the verification requirements for their specific application.
I received a request for further information
Read the letter carefully. Get advice as required. A request for information may come across all legal and scary but is usually to the point. Note the specific requests. Note how you are to respond, If it says to respond to a specific email within a set time, this is the process. If it says to upload to your online account within a specific time, this is the process. There is no other process involved. You can’t create new processes or rewrite what the policy should be. What is asked of you and the method to respond will be governed strictly by policy.
If you do not understand, email and/or call the office. Prepare specific questions to help you understand what is being asked.
Tip: Did you know there are specialist advisors and lawyers all around the world that cater for very special areas of activity. Such as consent/property law, tenancy and building, industrial, rural, immigration (e.g. Licenced Immigration Advisors). If you find the process you are undergoing difficult, these people are angels. Use of properly licenced, registered agents or lawyers is a good idea.
I can not supply information in the required time, what do I do?
You respond with what you do have and advise specifically what the issue is (e.g. by an additional cover note or letter.) Ask for further time (and state how much time, such as a further week) to respond. If they do not respond in a few days, ring the call centre or send a follow up email (but not both. You should only need one channel to seek a response.)
If the information you submitted previously was not relayed properly, perhaps due to not providing all the facts and the further request risks getting out of hand, remember the licenced agent/lawyer approach? I would seriously consider that option. The key thing is, even if you make a mistake, being honest, admitting any shortfall, presenting updated fact is relevant. Government cross checking and security checks often reveal what you failed to disclose. And you are only human. So get good advice.
If you were asked to upload and it is not working, or the application itself is not submitting or behaving as you expect, what do you do?You must contact the office advising of the issue so it can be noted on your file. They may have valid workarounds or technical support available.
For all technical issues – there are usually guides you can work with. Here are some suggestions:-
- Remove every symbol and exclamation mark from your online fields. Leave only plain language and numbers. These can cause issues (e.g. !?|/!@#$%^&*()~)
- Ensure there are no spaces before the first character and no spaces after the last character.
- Where you are asked specific matching detail (e.g. from your Passport) ensure it exactly matches that source (e.g. tax number, business number, passport data) but in the expected language (e.g. English) as the system may automatically match it.
- Make sure your dates and numbers are in the correct format and language required.
- Keep all your file names (that you upload) in simple language. For instance, resume, CV, PPT, PC.
- Open your PDF files and resave them with the minimum of data size (check online for apps to help.)
- Ensure the file type is correct for the field (e.g. JPG, PDF.)
- Use a current, updated Windows 10/11 system (up to date) and a recommended browser. This is usually Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. As a backup, Mozilla Firefox and Safari usually work.
- Check, clear the history/cookies and update the browser.
- Disable any VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections (if you don’t know what this is, chances are you aren’t running one.)
- If running in native browser mode does not work, try incognito (private) mode (In Chrome this is CTRL+SHIFT+N.) This usually bypasses any browser issues.
Most online systems are backed by databases hosted in the cloud or on live servers. They are often Sequel databases and significant servers are Sharepoint Server based. This means there will be some classic issues regardless of where are applying. Such as:
- GUID error – this usually means a file it expects to be present when you submit has either been replaced, is not present or is faulty. You should go back over the application and see if something is missing. If you can not discover the cause, an administrator in the government team needs to check on their end. It usually means stripping out the offending issue and advising what you need to upload, if anything. In some cases it is just as easy to start a new application.
- When I enter a date online and save, it resets back a day – date fields are incredibly tricky and can cause this issue where your location at time of application is in a different time zone. See if you can change your timezone on your system to the host country time zone, restart and try again. Try on a different browser or system entirely. If you are travelling overseas, try again when you are in yet another time zone. Contact the government office and ask whether you could enter +1 day and let it settle back to the date intended before submitting. If they do not know, ask them to check with their service team. Lodging an issue pre-emps a failed application due to perceived incorrect data.
What are the usual causes of this scenario?
- Time Zone Discrepancy: When you enter a date online, the system typically records it with respect to the time zone settings of your device. For example, if you’re in a different time zone than the server hosting the form, there can be a discrepancy.
- Date Conversion: When you save the date, the system may convert it to a standardized time zone (often UTC) for consistency. If there’s a mismatch between your local time zone and the standardized one, this could cause the date to appear as if it’s shifted.
- Daylight Saving Time: If the time zone you’re in observes daylight saving time and the server does not, this could lead to a one-day difference during certain periods of the year.
- Browser/System Settings: Browsers and operating systems can sometimes have their own date and time settings. If these are not configured correctly, it could lead to discrepancies when interacting with web forms.
- Traveling Across Time Zones: If you’re traveling and your device’s time zone is not updated to reflect your new location, it can cause date-related issues.
What are some workarounds that may solve the problem?
- Adjust Time Zone Settings: Change your system’s time zone settings to match the host country’s time zone. This should help align the dates correctly.
- Try a Different Browser/System: Sometimes, certain browsers or system configurations can cause date-related issues. Trying a different browser or device might resolve the problem.
- Consider Different Time Zones: If you’re traveling, try entering the date when you’re in a different time zone. This may align with the server’s expectations.
- Contact the Government Office: If the issue persists, it’s a good idea to contact the government office responsible for the online form. They may be aware of the issue and have specific instructions or recommendations.
- Lodge an Issue in Advance: If you suspect a date-related problem might occur, it’s better to inform the government office in advance. This proactive approach can help prevent any potential issues with your application.
- In summary, dates in online forms can be affected by various factors related to time zones and system settings. Taking the suggested steps should help resolve the issue and ensure that the date is recorded accurately.
- When I enter a date online and save, it resets to first on the month in every date field.
This is usually to do specifically with your browser/system (e.g. mobile phone.) Due to the nature of application systems and most being Sharepoint served backed, unless you are using a provided mobile app (and not the host countries visa system on a website login), do not use mobile phones or old systems. The online system will expect a modern browser and system (e.g. Windows 11 system or latest Apple desktop.) It will more than likely be configured for these up to date full systems. If you haven’t got one, find a library or dial a friend. Make it happen.
This is likely due to compatibility problems between the browser or system you’re using and the online form. Here are some potential reasons for this issue:
- Browser or System Compatibility: The online form may have been designed to work optimally with modern browsers and operating systems. Older browsers or systems, especially those that are not regularly updated, may encounter compatibility issues.
- Browser Extension or Add-On Interference: Certain browser extensions or add-ons can sometimes conflict with the functionality of web forms, causing unexpected behavior like date resetting.
- SharePoint Configuration: If the form is hosted on SharePoint, specific configurations or settings within the SharePoint environment may be contributing to the issue.
- Mobile Browser Limitations: Mobile browsers, especially on older or less advanced mobile devices, may not handle certain web forms as effectively as desktop browsers.
- Operating System Differences: Some web applications are optimized for specific operating systems. Using a more up-to-date and widely supported operating system like Windows 11 or the latest Apple desktop OS may provide a smoother experience.
- Date Formatting Expectations: The form’s coding may have specific expectations for how dates are formatted when they are submitted. If there’s a mismatch between the format you’re entering and what the form expects, it could lead to this kind of issue.
- The recommended steps to address this issue are:
- Use a Modern Browser and System: Ensure you’re using an up-to-date, modern browser and operating system. This will increase the likelihood of compatibility with the online form.
- Avoid Mobile Devices for Complex Forms: For forms that require a high level of compatibility and functionality, it’s best to use a desktop or laptop computer with a modern browser.
- Check for Browser Extensions/Add-Ons: Disable any unnecessary browser extensions or add-ons that may be interfering with the form’s functionality.
- Contact Support or IT Department: If the issue persists, consider reaching out to the support team or IT department responsible for the online form. They may have specific recommendations or solutions.
In summary, the issue is likely related to the compatibility of your browser or system with the online form. Using a modern, supported browser and system should help mitigate this problem.
- I can’t get drop down lists to choose from – Again, as per above. Browser, System. Most will work quite well with a modern Windows or current Apple desktop using Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, often as a backup try Mozilla Firefox or Safari. Latest versions ideally.
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