There are three things guaranteed in this life – death, taxes and a dodgy “visa agent”. We have so many clients that started our relationship with us digging them out of trouble they should never have been in if their visa applications and paperwork was done correctly in the first place.
Here’s a 10-point checklist to Ensure Visa Agent Reliability.
1. Do they offer the full range of visa services?
Far too many so-called Visa Agents are often freelancers that hook in customers because they earn commission from an originating service that actually does the paperwork and processes the application.
One of the easiest litmus test about Ensure Visa Agent Reliability is to ask for a range of services – because what they really want to do is close the sale by getting you to agree to the service that is easiest for them.
2. Can they explain what you need in understandable language?
Applying for a visa, or a KITAS as it’s more commonly known is an intricate process that involves up to 3 separate government ministries, a Police report and multiple documents that must be coordinated through central government systems in the correct order.
Did you know that your KITAS application actually involves at minimum a visa as well? While the terms are used interchangeably they are in fact entirely different things, all aligned to achieve the same end.
3. Do they have a website?
Would you buy anything that can have such a massive effect on your life, like a visa, from a company that doesn’t even have a website? This may sound obvious, but the lack of a website simply indicates that you are trusting an amateur to do something that requires serious expertise, connections, qualified staff and at the very least an email address that is not simply @gmail.com. Another simple test to ensure a Visa Agent Reliability
4. Does their business card stack up?
Ask for a business card. If they have one at least it indicates a level of commitment and stability.
The lack of a business card means they can change their phone number and email address in a heartbeat, and you can kiss goodbye not just to your money, but more importantly your visa “application”.
5. Can they refer you to previous clients?
A reference check about Visa Agent Reliability is easy and can be done in 20 seconds. Ask for a previous client referral and simply check that they exist and have done business with your agent.
It’s the most effective minute you will spend to avoid heartbreak at best, or arriving at Bali Airport with paperwork that is clearly false – and the ensuing expense of getting back home after being rejected at the airport.
6. Are they competing on price?
The moment you hear “I can do it cheaper” then beware because it is a clear red flag regarding a Visa Agent Reliability . Caveat Emptor.
Processing visa, KITAS and investor company applications have standard pricing and timeframes. What a freelancer does is try to gauge your relative propensity to pay more or less to “close the sale”.
If the price is negotiable, ask yourself what else is negotiable. Like the chances of success for your visa application for example.
7. Is their pricing transparent?
And by transparent we mean does the price include everything that must be done in order for your visa or KITAS to be complete?
Here’s an easy example. For a Foreign Investor Visa there are actually 5 pieces of documentation required. The first is a visa which allows you entry into Indonesia in order to complete your KITAS application and requirements. And then there is the mandatory Police report – which is not a background check but a registration with the local police to determine your legal status – followed by a multiple re-entry permit which allows you to leave Indonesia and return at will.
And without this last piece of critical documentation, you may find yourself stranded at the border because your “Visa Agent” didn’t complete everything necessary for you to conduct your business.
8. How quickly do they respond to your emails?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if you don’t get a reply to your emails within 1 working day (2 at the most) then maybe your freelancer (sorry, “Visa Agent”) has another job. Like a waiter, or a driver, or one of many side-hustles every freelancer has.
Don’t be a side hustle.
9. Do they meet their promised timelines?
Here’s a big one. If you are promised action by a certain date and it doesn’t happen, how long should you wait? The answer is to find a professional to get the job done. Because waiting for the promised “next week” may be a wait for a very, very long time.
The art of the freelancer is to keep you waiting with increasing urgency of “soon”, usually followed by “it may cost a little more”.
A reliable Visa Agent will make the entire process transparent and report regularly on progress. Accept nothing less.
10. Who were they referred from?
Everyone “has a guy” who they will refer you to. It’s human nature to want validation when you applied for your visa (or a KITAS), and you actually got one, that it happened in acceptable timeframes and on budget.
We have all been caught out because “my friend/connection/company” is the best. But maybe it’s because they don’t want to admit their Foreign Investment Company cost them USD$12,000 instead of what we charge for the same service, which is USD$1,600.