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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Top 3 Reasons Why VisaHQ Is Awesome!

Part of the whole Mongol Rally experience is getting the visas! (Un)surprisingly this can be quite the process in many of the countries we are visiting. You often need to get invitation letters before you can even apply for visas, and all of these can  take a lot of time. Especially when companies tell you invitation letters will take 2 weeks and they take 6 weeks. And then when you get the letters you've waited 6 weeks for they are incorrect and you have to wait another week. And especially when you need to get 8 visas before you can even leave the country (not counting the ones we have to get on arrival). 

Through this process we have used 3 different services for letters of invitation, visas and other permits - the Adventurist's Visa Machine, Stantours and VisaHQ. 

We're lucky because we can apply for a bunch of the visas ourselves since they have embassies in Ottawa, but there are 3 countries (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) that only have embassies in the US. That's where VisaHQ came in. Rather than trying to Fedex our passports to DC and back multiple times and cross our fingers that everything would work out, we decided to just pay a visa service to make sure it got done with the least amount of stress possible.

I can not even begin to tell you how impressed I was when I went into VisaHQ in Ottawa. I've walked by it a bunch of times, but had no idea what was waiting inside this hidden gem.

Here are the Top 3 Reasons Why VisaHQ is Awesome

3. Friendly, knowledgeable staff 

I went into VisaHQ to apply for the visas for Sebastien and I, and was honestly in and out in 15 minutes. It took me way longer than that to fill out the forms!

The person who helped me was very friendly, double-checked all my paperwork, answered all of my questions and was very competent and efficient. When I went in there I was stressed out because it took so long to get my invitation letters from the other visa services that we were a bit tight on time. The staff at VisaHQ gave me great advice on how long the visas took, and whether or not I should get some of them expedited. I was immediately reassured after I left!

VisaHQ had to follow up because the other visa service I used had issued incorrect invite letters (they were in Uzbek, so we didn't realize that at first), and they were very professional and helpful.

2. Great prices!

Most people that know me know that I am cheap smart with my money. VisaHQ has great prices for their services. I think the fees were cheaper than paying to Fedex our documents back and forth from DC. This whole visa thing is expensive overall, but if we had gotten our visas from any other service in Ottawa, it would probably would have been almost three times more expensive. I know this because I did get a quote from another agency (IVPSC) and I almost had a heart attack.

I wish I had known that VisaHQ also does passport/passport-sized photos because I think they are the CHEAPEST place in Ottawa to get them done. I believe they were $7.99 for a set of two. ALSO, if you are getting these pictures to apply for visas through VisaHQ you don't even have to pay for them. Which is pretty awesome, and would have saved me and Sebastien about $40. Guess we know for next time!

1. Easy and Efficient Service

I think the best part about VisaHQ is that they made everything so easy. It probably would have been even easier if I had used their convenient online application form. 

They process their visas when they say they will, they follow up as necessary and they keep us informed of every step of the process by sending us emails when our documents are submitted and visas are issued. We can also log-in to our account on the VisaHQ website to check the status of our visas at anytime. We're just waiting on one more visa before we get our passports sent back to us! 

This was a stark contrast to some of the other services, where I had to repeatedly follow-up to find out the status of our requests and could never even get a hold of a person half of the time. They really do try to help travelers navigate the bureaucratic maze of visa processing, and I highly recommend them!

1 comment:

  1. On behalf of VisaHQ, thank you for the kind words. Glad we could help and GOOD LUCK WITH THE MONGOL RALLY!


    Richard Bangs
    Director of Marketing, VisaHQ