1. Visa

What is a visa?

A visa is a document with which you can show that you have official permission to enter and travel through a country, for a specified period of time.  Visas are usually granted through prior application at the countries Embassy or Consulate.  Some visas can granted on arrival or, in the case of e-visas, be issued online.

During your entire visa application process you can check the current status of your application by logging in and visiting your checklist.

There are many different types of visa and they are dependent on your reason for travel.  The most common visa types are:

•    Business / Business electronic

•    Tourist / Tourist electronic

•    Transit

•    Work or Temporary Work

•    Conference

•    Family Visit

•    Student

•    Medical

•    Journalist


How long are visas valid?

Visa validities are dependent on the rules and regulations set by the country in question and can also differ based on the type of visa being requested.  Most countries issue visas that are valid for a specific period of time and then allow you to stay for a predetermined amount of days within the country, starting from the date of entry.  For example, a visa may be valid for a period of 3 months and allow you to stay for 30 days in the relevant country.  This means that you need to travel to that country within the 3 months that the visa is valid and once you are there, you can stay for 30 days.

What is the difference between visa validity and length of stay?

The validity of a visa refers to the date that the visa will expire. The length of stay or duration of the visa refers to the maximum amount of time that you are allowed to stay in that country without leaving.

What is the passport or visa return date?

The passport or visa return date is the latest date that you specify that you need your passport back in your possession, once the visa process is completed.  With an electronic visa this would be the latest date to receive the electronic confirmation of your visa.

This date is extremely important for Visa Service Desk and we use this date to make all of the relevant decisions in regards to the timing of your visa application.  Please note: the number of procedure days required for the embassy to process your application is not the total time of the entire application.  Keep in mind that you will need to calculate the time for shipping your passport and documents to us, and for their eventual return.  Visa Service Desk will also need to check your documents, and for some Embassies extra time will be needed for the planning of an appointment for biometrics.

What are single, double and multiple entry visas?

A single-entry visa allows you to enter and leave a country once during the validity of that visa
A double-entry visa allows you to enter and leave a country twice during the validity of that visa
A multiple-entry visa allows you to enter and leave a country 3 or more times during the validity of that visa

Can I also get a visa on arrival?

There are some countries which issue visas on arrival.  There is, however, no guarantee that you will always be issued with a visa on arrival and therefore Visa Service Desk recommends that you should arrange your visa before travel to avoid unpleasant surprises.

If you wish to travel and make use of a visa on arrival then we advise you always to contact your airline to find out if you can check in for your flight without a visa.

2. E-visa

What is an e-visa?

An e-visa is an official document issued online by the Immigration Department of a country, that allows a foreigner to enter and travel in that country. An e-visa is an alternative to a paper-based visa issued by the Embassy. You are required to present this e-visa at the immigration checkpoint for verification upon your arrival.

An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) is an electronic application that may be applied for if you qualify for this type of visa. With this ESTA you may enter the United States for tourism and business purposes. The ESTA is valid for 2 years and is matched to the passport that you apply with. If your passport expires before your ESTA or if you replace this passport, then your ESTA is no longer valid and you will need to apply for a new one on your current (new) passport. With an ESTA you may stay in the United States for up to 90 days per entry.

To apply for an ESTA you need an e-passport. U can recognize an e-passport by the logo on the front of the passport. 

The following nationalities may apply for an ESTA:









San Marino










Czech Republic





South Korea












United Kingdom





What is an eVisitor visa?

An eVisitor visa is a new travel-visa available for travellers from countries that are members of the European Union. With this visa you may enter Australia for tourism and business purposes. The eVisitor is valid for 1 year and is matched to the passport that you apply with. If your passport expires before your eVisitor visa or if you replace this passport, then your eVisitor visa is no longer valid and you will need to apply for a new one on your current (new) passport. With an eVisitor visa  you may stay in the Australia for up to 90 days per entry.

To apply for an eVisitor visa you need an e-passport. U can recognize an e-passport by the logo on the front of the passport.

The following nationalities may apply for an eVisitor visa:









San Marino







Czech Republic











United Kingdom



Vatican City







What is an ETA?

An ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) is the name that has been given to the most used tourism visa of Australia. The ETA is valid for 1 year and is matched to the passport that you apply with. If your passport expires before your ETA or if you replace this passport, then your ETA is no longer valid and you will need to apply for a new one on your current (new) passport. With an ETA you may stay in the Australia for up to 90 days per entry.

To apply for an ETA visa you need an e-passport. U can recognize an e-passport by the logo on the front of the passport. 

The following nationalities may apply for an ETA:



South Korea



United States




Travellers from countries connected to the Schengen agreement may also apply for an ETA:







Czech Republic





















3. Documentation

Are standard passport photos always the correct format for visa applications or are there other sizes needed?

A standard passport photo (35x45mm) is not always accepted for visa applications.  Some Embassies require photographs with a different format, a common example is the 50x50mm format.  There can also be some strict requirements to what is shown in the photograph, dependant on the Embassy. Examples of this are the photo requirements of the embassies of  Russia and India.

The exact specifications are shown on our website and in your checklist in your Personal Portal.

With our Photo Service Visa Service Desk will make sure that the right amount of photo's who meet all requirements are added to your application.

The entry date is the date that you arrive in a country and pass through their customs border.  The departure or exit date is the date that you leave a country and exit through a customs border.


Do I have to book my flight/ticket before applying for my visa?

When a flight or travel ticket booking is a requirement of a visa application then yes, you must have booked this before applying for your visa. 

What will happen if I can’t get all of the documents for my application?

We always strive to ensure that visa applications are as complete as possible before submitting them to the relevant authority.  If you can't get hold of a specific required document for any reason then we will do our best to find another document to take its place or to try to submit your application without that document.  Please note that applying without any required document will increase the chance that the application is rejected.

What is an original signature?

If we ask you for an original signature, what is meant is a pen written signature on paper.  Not a photocopy, scanned copy or digital signature.  You may be asked, for example, to deliver a completed visa application form, with original signature(s) – in this instance you would need to fill out the application form, print it, sign it in pen and send the hard copy to us.

Do you inform me when my documents have been received?

If you have placed a standard order with us then you can follow the status of your application live from your personal portal on our website.  You can also always contact us by phone or email for more detailed information.

If you have placed a premium order with us then we will contact you directly through each step of the process and you will receive regular updates on the status of your application.

What needs to be stated in my documents?

Each of the documents necessary for your visa application need to have specific details in them or meet specific requirements of the Embassy or Consulate.  Examples are:

•    Your passport cannot be damaged and must have an empty visa page.  

•    Your photograph may need to have a specific size

•    Guarantee letter may need to include your full name and passport number

All of these requirements are shown on our website and can also be found in your personal portal, once you have placed an order with us.

4. Passport

Why does Visa Service Desk put a sticker on my passport?

The placing of our sticker on your passport in a mandatory requirement from most Embassies.  This is to make it easier for them to see which passports belong to applications submitted by our company.  It is also helpful to have this if you were to misplace or lose your passport as a person who found it would be able to call us and we could help to get it back for you.  We use stickers that are easy to remove and that should not leave any mark when removed.  Please let us know if you would like us to remove the sticker before we send your passport back to you.

The information page in your passport is the page where you can find your photograph and personal details.  When a copy of your passport is requested, it is a copy of this specific page that is required.

Important - Please Note

The signature in your passport must match the signature that you place on the documents used for your visa application.  This also applies to your full name.

In Dutch passports, the letter O is never used.  If you see a circle in the passport number it is always the number 0.


What is an empty visa page in my passport?

Your passport, when new, contains many empty and numbered pages.  These are the visa pages and are intended for the placement of visas or entry/exit stamps.  Many standard visas will take up a whole page in your passport and they are not allowed to cover any existing stamps or visas that you already have.  As such an empty visa page is needed for the placement of your visa and some countries even request that you have 2 empty, facing pages for the issuance of their visas.

What is the difference between a passport and an identity card?

A Dutch identity card is a travel document that is valid within the EU, EEC, Monaco, San Marino, Turkey and Switzerland.  A passport is a travel document that is valid worldwide.

Click here to read more about the difference between a identity card and a passport on the website of the Dutch national government.

I don’t have a Dutch passport, can Visa Service Desk handle my visa application?

In most cases we can assist you if you have a passport that is not Dutch, so long as you are resident in The Netherlands, work in The Netherlands and/or have Dutch Nationality.  The exact rules in this regard are dependent on the regulations set by the Embassy or Consulate for the country to which you intend to travel.

Is it allowed to send my passport to you for my visa application

Yes, it is. When it is necessary you may send your passport to a 3rd party. Taking into account that we are going to be submitting your application for you, and that your visa will be places in your passport it is required that we receive your original passport.

Can I use the photo in my passport for my visa application?

If your passport has the chip symbol on its cover then it is possible to make an electronic copy of the photo used in the information page of your passport.  However, the quality of this photo is not very good and some countries will not accept this for visa applications.  We can use this photo as an emergency back up, but it is much better if you make a new photo with your phone or camera and send that to us, as the quality is much higher.

With our photo service we can check and print your photograph, ensuring that it is the correct format for your specific visa application.

Why do I need to send my passport, is a copy not enough?

All traditional visas (not e-visas) are stamps or stickers that are placed directly in to your passport, on one of the visa pages.  It is therefore mandatory that your passport is sent to the Embassy or Consulate in question when you apply for a traditional visa.

Our website will show you the requirements for all visa types and if a copy is accepted, as they are for e-visas, it will be clearly stated in the requirements.

5. Personal Portal

I want to upload documents or fill in a questionnaire in my Personal Portal, how do I do that?

If you have chosen a service from us that allows you to upload documents or fill in a questionnaire in your Personal Portal then all you need do is log in to our website and go to your checklist.  Once there you will see that the document(s) or questionnaire has the words “upload document” or “fill in” next to it.  If you click on this you will be asked where you wish to upload your document from or be redirected to the questionnaire.

If you upload an incorrect document, don’t worry,  you can upload documents as many times as is necessary.

If you have forgotten your password then simply click on the “Log In” button at the top of the homepage on our website and then click “forgot password”.  You can then fill in the email address used to create your account and a link will be sent to you so that you can reset your password.


What is my Personal Portal on the Visa Service Desk website?

Once you have placed an order on our website and you have made a password, you can log in to your personal portal by clicking on the highlighted “Log in” or “Portal” button at the top right of our website.  When you are logged in you will be able to see your contact, traveller and address details and once your order is completed you we be able to see and download your invoice(s).

In addition to the above mentioned details you will also find the checklist for your specific visa application in your Personal Portal.  This is a detailed list of all of the documents that are required for your visa application with an explanation of what they are, or should contain.  If you have chosen a product or service from us that allows you to upload documents, you can also do this from within your Personal Portal

6. Legalisation

What is a legalisation?

Obtaining a legalisation is a procedure in which the signature on a document is verified by an official body so that the document can be used legally in a country other than the country where the document was issued.

An Apostille stamp is a form of authentication added to documents to allow them to be used in member countries of the Hague Convention. Apostilles are usually requested by foreign authorities and organisations in order to accept a document as genuine and so they can be used for official purposes abroad.


Why does my document need to be legalised?

Documents need to be legalised so that they are recognized as being real and authentic when taken to other countries outside of where the document was issued.

What type of documents need to be legalised?

Almost any document can be legalised but the most common are listed here below:

•    Diploma

•    Medical statements

•    Birth certificates / marriage certificates

•    Certificates of Conduct

•    Certificates of Origin

•    Invoices

•    Power of attorney

•    Articles of Association

•    Health certificates

•    GMP certificates

•    Certificates of Incorporation 

•    CPP certificates

My document needs to be translated before/after being legalised, can you do that?

Yes we certainly can.  We offer translation services into all major languages and we also know when to translate and whether the translation also needs to be legalised, or not.

What are the steps involved in legalising documents?

The process can vary depending on the country you need to have your documents prepared for, or the kind of documents you are processing, the Legalisation process can include multiple combinations of the following: a Notary, an Embassy, the District Court, the Chamber of Commerce or a Ministry.

7. Order

What do I need for my visa application?

The requirements for visa applications vary per country and visa type.  These requirements can be found on our website, simply enter your nationality, destination and reason for travel and you will see a short list of the requirements for that specific visa.  In most cases you will need to supply your passport and a completed visa application form, with an attached photograph.  It is also often required to show how you are travelling to and from the country and where you will stay during your visit.

Visa applications can be very complicated and time consuming.  Visa Service Desk remove the complication and stress and save your valuable time.

•    We will submit and collect your visa application from the Embassy

•    We are always on hand to answer your questions and offer support by phone and email

•    In your personal portal you have acces to a list of requirements, the status of your application and a handy checklist

•    All requirements are thoroughly checked before submission, greatly reducing the chance of rejection

Alongside this, we offer many more extra services to in order to fulfil all of your visa needs.


Can a visa application be rejected?

Yes, visa applications can be rejected by an Embassy or Consulate.  This can be for multiple reasons, the most common of which is that the requirements for the visa have not been fully met. Embassies and Consulates are not required to inform you of the reason for rejection and as such it is highly advisable to apply through a visa specialist company such as Visa Service Desk to minimize the chance of rejection.

How long will my visa application take?

Once submitted, the processing time of a visa application is dependent on the number of (working)days that the Embassy or Consulate has specified.  Some Embassies and Consulates have urgent and/or express procedures where, for a higher fee, your visa application can be processed faster than normal.  These processing times and fees are shown clearly on our website.

The indicated procedure time of an Embassy or Consulate is only a guideline. Although this is used in most cases, an Embassy or Consulate always reserves the right to extend the processing of your application, without reason.

Please also take into account the number of days needed for you to assemble all of the relevant documents, to ship them to us, time for us to check and correct them if necessary and the time to ship your passport back to you.  It is always best to apply with plenty of time to spare.

I’m travelling with multiple people and/or to multiple destinations, do I need to place multiple orders for this?

On our website, you can place orders with a maximum of 5 travellers and 4 destinations.  If you are travelling with more people or to more destinations than this then you will need to place more than 1 order.  The placing of multiple orders does not in itself increase the price in any way, prices are calculated for each individual visa application.

How far in advance should I apply for my visa?

When considering when to start your visa application the following factors should be taken into account:

•    What is the latest date that you need to have the visa?

•    What is the processing time for your visa?

•    How long will it take for you to get all of the required documents?

•    Do you need your passport for other reasons/travels?

•    Are there documents which are valid for a specific time period?

•    How long in advance to my traveldate does the Embassy/Consulate allow applications to be submitted?

•    How long is the visa valid for?

You will need to apply within the timeframe set by the Embassy or Consulate, this is most often between 1 and 3 months before the intended date of travel.  Keep in mind that it may take some time to collect all of the documents required for your application.  Choose the right time, where you don’t need your passport for another reason or trip.

Some documents are only valid for a specific period of time, for example a visa application form that needs to be submitted within 30 days.  Visa Service Desk will always keep you informed of such instances and keep the validities in mind when applying for your visa.

How can I cancel my visa application?

Once you have placed your online order through our website you will receive a confirmation email which will include a link to enable you to cancel your order.  Alternatively, you can also call or email us with a cancellation request.  There may be costs involved in the cancellation of your application, depending on how far along your application is.  Any payments made to Embassies or Consulates are non-refundable.

Why should I apply for a visa in The Netherlands when I can also get a visa on arrival?

Applying for a visa at an Embassy or Consulate in The Netherlands, before you travel, gives you more certainty that you will be able to enter your destination country.  This will allow you to begin your travel stress free and will also save you from having to wait in a long queue for your visa on arrival at your point of entry.

8. Services

What is the Premium Service?

Our Premium Service offers you the most efficient and easy way for you to apply for your visa.  You will have a personal visa specialist to assist you throughout the process and an easy to use digital system to upload your documents.  Our Premium Service also includes many other products to take as much of the work possible out of your hands. 

Click here to read more about our Premium Service.

Many countries require an invitation as one of the necessary documents for a visa application.  For some countries, Visa Service Desk can assist you in obtaining the relevant invitation letter needed for your visa application.

For Russia, we can assist you in obtaining tourist and business invitations.  There are multiple options available.

•    For Iran, we can assist you in obtaining a Visa Grant Notice for both tourist and business visa applications

•    For Saudi Arabia, we can assist you with obtaining an invitation for a business visa or a temporary work permit.


What is the Digital Visa Scan service?

The Digital Visa Scan is a scanned copy of your visa, made once the visa has been issued and your passport is back in our office.  We will send you this scan digitally so that you are able to see the visa and check all of the details before your passport is shipped back to you.

What is the Draft Employer Statement service?

An Employer Statement is a necessary document for many visa types as it provides a financial guarantee for the traveller, from their employer.  There are many specific details that must be mentioned in this document to ensure that it will be accepted as part of a visa application.  

With this service, we will create the Employer Statement for you and ensure that all of the correct and relevant information is included.  A copy of this letter will then be sent to you so that you can print it out on company headed paper and have it signed by the relevant person.

What is the Travel Emergency Registration?

With this service we will register your journey with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Dutch government will then know where and until when you are abroad and how they can get in touch with you.  When necessary, you will receive important information that applies to your trip, by your phone and/or email.  An emergency contact is also indicated in the registration and this person, for example your partner or child, will be informed if necessary.

Click here to read more about the Emergency Registration.

What is the Photo Service?

With this service we will print out a digital photograph that you have sent us, this could be from a phone or camera.  We will edit and/or crop this photo to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Embassy or Consulate where your visa application will be submitted.  After printing it in the correct format, we will attach the photo to your visa application form.

Click here to read more about our Photo Service.

What is the Exclusive Meet and Assist service?

With this service one of our visa specialists will come in person to your home or office to advise and assist you with your visa application(s) or legalisation(s).

Click here to read more about our Meet & Assist service.

What is the Pre-Application Check service?

With this service you can send us a digital copy of all of your documents and a copy of your passport information page so that one of our visa specialists can check these for you and let you know if they are all correct and complete, before you send them to us.  If there any corrections needed or missing documents we will let you know directly.  With this digital check you can save valuable time by removing the need to correct and re-send documents.

Click here to read more about our pre-application service.

What is the Form Completion Service?

With this service we will fill in your visa application form for you.  This will save you time and confusion with complicated and unclear websites and forms.  You will only need to fill out our own clear and simple information form, which has no unnecessary questions, repetition or vague questions where the correct answer is unclear.

Click here to read more about our form completion service.

9. Shipping

Can I send my passport to you?

You can certainly send your passport to us.  You can also make use of our collection service and one of our couriers will come to your location to collect your passport and any other documents.  We strongly advise you to use a courier for shipping your passport and documents and we strongly advise against using regular post.  

Our address is: Parkstraat 15 – 5th floor - 2514 JD The Hague.- f.a.o. Visa Service Desk

We can certainly send your passport back to you.  Visa Service Desk only use couriers to deliver passports back to our clients. This means that your passport will be placed directly in your hands, or those of a person of your choice and that proof of delivery must be signed.

Your passport, visa and documents are extremely important and your travel is dependent on getting them back on time.  This is why Visa Service Desk use only couriers for shipping and we do not use standard post or registered mail.


I have a digital document that I want to send to you, how do I do this safely?

You can securely upload your docs via our website.  You need only state your full name and order number and you can upload as many documents as you want or need to.  Please click the link below to be redirected to our contact page where you can upload your documents.

Click here to go to our contact form and upload your document to us safely.

Please note
If you are using our Premium Service then you can always upload all of your documents in your personal portal

10. Payment

How can I pay for my order?

Visa Service Desk accepts the following payment methods:

•    Ideal
•    Credit Card (Maestro/Mastercard/Visa/Amex)
•    Paypal
•    Apple Pay

Payment of your order can be made on the last page of the order process on our website.

Generally your invoice will contain Consulair costs, Visa Service Desk handling fees and Service Centre fees if an Embassy or Consulate employs a company to screen applications for them. 

If you choose to use our courier service for a pickup or delivery or if you make use of an extra service these costs will also be shown on your invoice.

All costs are shown with and without VAT where it applies, this way you can see exactly which service brings what fee. For consulair fees you do not pay VAT.


I can't find my invoice, can I get an new one?

Once your order is completed, you can find a copy of the invoice in your personal portal under the heading Invoices.  You can find all completed invoices here.  You can also always call or email us for a copy of any invoice you require.

11. Privacy

What does Visa Service Desk do with my personal details?

Visa Service Desk processes your data carefully, securely and reliably. We are committed to protecting your privacy.

You can find our detailed Privacy Statement

12. News

I would like to stay up to date with the most recent Embassy and visa news, is there a newsletter that I can subscribe to?

Visa Service Desk regularly sends out a newsletter with information about visas, Embassies and travel news. If you would like to receive this newsletter you can visit the News section of our website here. You will receive our newsletters by email.

You can also see previously sent newsletters here.

You can find information on closure dates in the News - Closure dates embassy section of our website. Please note, an Embassy or Consulate may have extra days on which they are closed.


13. Other

New requirements due to COVID-19.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most procedures have been adjusted. Always check out the requirements for the country you are visiting. 

There are a number of countries where certain vaccinations are mandatory as part of the visa application process.  You will need to show your original vaccination book to prove that you have had the required vaccinations, sometimes a copy is also accepted.  If mandatory vaccinations are needed for your journey then you will be notified by one of our visa specialists.  You can also find this information in the checklist in your Personal Portal.

You can also find more information on vaccinations on the following websites: 
Nederland Wereldwijd en GGD Reisvaccinaties.


What is the current travel advise for my destination?

You can find important information on your destination on the website of Nederland Wereldwijd.  This website shows you the most current information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I have cancelled my travel, can I still use my visa?

When a visa is issued, it is valid for a specific period of time only.  This is called the visa validity and during this period of time you are allowed to travel to and spend time in the country in question.  If your newly planned travel dates are outside of this time period then you will need to apply for a new visa to allow for your travel.

Please note: Embassies do not refund the costs of unused visas.

What is the Schengen Convention/Agreement/Area?

The Schengen Convention or Agreement is a treaty which led to the creation of Europe's Schengen Area, in which internal border checks have largely been abolished.  This allows citizens of member states to travel, within the Schengen Area, without visas or border checks.

The 26 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland

Can Visa Service Desk assist with visa application for The Netherlands or other Schengen countries?

Unfortunately we cannot assist with visa applications for The Netherlands or other Schengen countries at this time.  These visas need to be applied for outside of the Schengen Area.

For more information on Schengen visas, please visit the website of the Rijksoverheid.

My child is shown in my passport, how does this work with visa applications?

Since the 26th of June 2012 it is no longer possible in The Netherlands to have your child or children in your passport.  Each child must have their own passport. Incase this is still available for your nationality, please contact us.

Apply for your visa