Getting the visas

Living in Germany, I checked the visa requirement for the countries I want to visit. While most of the touristic places offer “Visa On Arrival” (VOA), other require that you get the visa from your own country before leaving home.
An other constraint is that the visas are often only valid 3 months after the date of issue.

Maybe the most difficult destination in my plan is Iran. VOA might be possible- valid for 1 week or 2, but it is unclear if it currently working. It is recommended to get the visa before going. The visa procedure is quite complex there: you first need to get an authorization code from the Iranian Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then this code allow you to apply for the visa in the Iranian consulate close to your place. I used iranianvisa to get the code. I applied the 10th of April and immediately paid via for the normal procedure. A few day later, I got a mail that I would get it as soonest the 29th of April, and were asked to pay more for the urgent procedure. So did I. But I finally got the code exactly on the 29th, so why did I pay 30€ extra for the urgent procedure? Reading some forum in the Internet, other services might be more reliable… I just called the Iranian consulate here in Frankfurt today the 30th which confirmed me they received the code. Normally they need 10 days to proceed the visa! But my passport is now in the Chinese consulate and I am flying the 8th of May. I will go directly to the Consulate on Friday and hope I could get the visa within the day!

In the meanwhile, I let made other visa. First, I send my passport to the Mongolian Embassy in Berlin, following the procedure in their website. I called them about the address there, it is not necessary. So pretty straight forward: form filled, printed, and sent; a week later, I got my passport with the Mongolian Visa, touristic visa for 30 days, and I have to enter to Mongolia before the 5th of July.

Then I wanted the Chinese visa with multiple entries. You have to go personally to the consulate, fortunately there is one here in Frankfurt. But their procedure is another hassle: you have to show your tickets and some hotel reservation in order to apply. I first missed the tickets, the day after the hotel reservation hoping a friend name in Beijing would be enough. But I should have bring an official invitation from this friend! Thus I booked a cheap hostel and went a third time last Friday (and again more than 30 min waiting in the queue) to apply for the Visa. With the 1st of May being not worked, I should get it only on next Friday the 4th.

In comparison, getting a Visa for India was very easy. There is also a consulate in Frankfurt but they outsource the visa services, so I went to there. The application form must be filled 100% online in the dedicated server. I had to restart the application in their office but they have computers to do so. I had also to make a special bigger picture, 8€ but coming back from my second refusal in the Chinese consulate, I was happy to pay for a service going straight forward! Indeed, 2 days later, I got an email that my visa was ready to be picked up!

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