After Visa Approval, When Should I Travel?


This question is a valid and important one. Getting a visa can be difficult. You have to go through the process of applying, submitting relevant documents, attending visa interviews and hoping that you will be granted a visa.

Now that you have been granted approval, you might be at a loss for what to do next. Should you travel immediately or wait a while? Worry no more. I’m here to give you all the details you need to know and answer the question, “after visa approval, when should I travel?”

Let’s begin..

What is Visa Approval?

Visa approval is permission to enter a country and is only valid for the period stated on the visa. Without it, you cannot travel to a particular country.

It’s not enough to hear “your visa has been approved.”  There must be evidence to show for it, which you can present upon entry into the country. This is important so you don’t get deported on arrival.

The confirmation of your visa can either be a stamp or a sticker directly on your passport. It could also be an approval notice. This shows you have been granted a visa to the country you applied for. After the approval stamp, you would be given a list of conditions that guide the use of the visa you have obtained.

Some of these conditions include:

  • Your expected entry time. This includes your intended date of travel and arrival in the country.
  • Where you will be visiting. This includes details about the places you will be going, where you will lodge and the person expecting you.
  • What you will be doing during the period of your stay. This captures the purpose of your visit: vacation, work, pleasure, business and so on.
  • The duration of your stay. This shows how long you are expected to stay in that country.

Of course, you cannot expect to enter a country and just go anywhere you like or do anything you like. The country needs to know these details about your stay because they have to protect their citizens. They don’t know who you are and what you’re capable of, and for that reason, you have to be accountable to them.

It also helps you keep track of what you would do upon entering that country so that you won’t be all over the place. Remember, it would be a different place from what you know so you have to know these details in order to be well-prepared and not be stranded.

It is important that you thoroughly understand the conditions attached to your visa approval.

What’s Next?

After visa approval, when should I travel? This is dependent on the conditions attached to your visa approval. The general principle is to travel within seven days after visa approval; however, there are some conditions that determine when you should travel.

Some of these conditions are:

1. The Type Of Visa You Have

There are different kinds of visas: student visa, tourist visas, work visas and so on.

If you’re using a student visa, for example, you’re expected to travel before the academic session begins, a week or month before.

If you have a tourist visa valid for 6 months, you can decide to travel any time within those 6 months. Take your time, plan your travel, and book your lodging, flights and other logistics within your valid period.

If you have a job waiting for you in the country you’re traveling to, you’re expected to travel immediately you get your visa or before the start of the job.

If you don’t have a job waiting and you’re using a work visa, you can travel anytime you wish, but within the validity period of your visa.

Always ensure you enter the country before the expiration date of the visa.

2. The Entry Type of The Visa You Have

There are different entry types for visa: single-entry and multiple-entry.

If you have a single-entry visa (usually represented by “1”), it means you can only enter the country once within the validity period of your visa (usually 90 days). This type of visa is suitable for tourists, business people and short-term visitors.

If you are planning a destination holiday, celebration, wedding or other short-stay visit and you have a single-entry visa, it is best to travel immediately after visa approval because of the short validity period.

A multiple-entry visa (represented by “M”) means you can enter the country as many times as possible within the visa validity period. This visa is suitable for frequent travelers or adventurers, extended family vacations and others. The validity period is usually between 5 years.

For multiple-entry visas, you can choose to travel to the country any time you wish within the 5-year validity period.

3. The Duration Of Stay Given To You

On many occasions, the number of days you can stay in the country you’re going to may be shorter than the validity period of your visa.

In this case, it is best to travel immediately after your visa has been approved so that you can enjoy your meeting, visit and whatever event took you there.

4. Flight Availability And Cost

This is important because you won’t teleport to the country you’re visiting, At least I know it’s not scientifically conclusive that humans can teleport.

You would have to take a flight to your destination; thus, it is important to confirm that the cost of the flight is what you can afford and there is an available flight before you travel.

It would be very sad and uncomfortable to get stranded on your journey and in the country you’re going to. Therefore, you have to settle every detail about your flight first before you can travel.

5. The Validity Period and Entry Date on Your Visa

On your visa, you will see the “valid from” print that tells you when you can travel after collecting your visa. You can travel any day from that date and within the validity period too.

Some visas, however, may have a specific date on which you must travel and you have to comply with the directive.

These are some general rules that apply in answering the question, after visa approval, when should I travel.

Someone might be asking what would happen if you didn’t travel after visa approval. I’ll tell you.

What Happens If You Don’t Travel After Visa Approval?

The answer to this question depends on some factors, such as:

1. The Validity of Your Visa

If you have a short-term visa and you don’t travel within the valid period of your visa, then you won’t be allowed to enter into the country.

2. The type of entry visa you have

If you have a single-entry visa and you don’t travel within the duration you applied for and were given, you won’t be allowed entry (you can only enter once).

For example: Mr X had a short-term, single-entry visa to London, valid for 90 days, beginning in December and he was unable to travel because of some issues.

If he was available for the trip in March, he would be denied entry because his visa has expired.

You would have to apply again and chances are you might not be able to attend whatever event you had planned for.

The following things can happen when you don’t travel after receiving your visa

1. You Would Be Refused Entry

You won’t be permitted to enter the country and may be deported upon discovery.

2. You Would Have To Apply For A New Visa

Applying for another visa might be stressful and you might make mistakes because you are now in a rush.

The procedures might even change from the one you followed previously.

3. You Would Miss Your Event

You might miss the events, getaways or meet-ups you’ve been anticipating and end up disappointed, especially if you have a single-entry, short-term visa.

4. You Would Lose Your Resources

You might lose your money if you’ve paid ahead for accommodations, flights or other logistics for where you are going.

It’s also going to be a waste of time and effort spent to ensure your visa was approved.

5. It Will Hinder Your Future Visa Chances

Most importantly, not traveling when you receive your PSST can be a dent that might hinder your future travel plan, especially if it happened multiple times and you don’t have an excusable reason for not traveling.

This means your destination holidays or education dreams might not come to fruition. Many countries would refuse to give you visas because why bother when you won’t come. It also leaves a mark on your person.

All in all, it is a very uncomfortable position you don’t want to put yourself into.

This article has attempted to answer the question: after visa approval, when should I travel?, citing different scenarios and advice.

Ultimately, choosing when to travel is up to you BUT you must ensure that you read the conditions of your visa properly and  travel within the valid period on your visa.



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