copyright Laurita Small 2009

In order to arrange a Visa…one needs special skills. The most important of these would ordinarily be time and energy, however, time can easily become punishment and energy can turn into crime. Seeing as I am in the process of applying for a Police Clearence Certificate, crime is especially a very very bad idea and particularly inadvisable not to mention counter-productive. It would generally be so, regardless of the circumstance.

No no no…the most important thing, and it is absolutely irreplacable, is PATIENCE. Patience with ever-changing regulations and international laws and staff, pricing and couriers. Yes, my dear compatriots, the visa business is a living breathing thing…and it has moods.

Here’s some information. A Police Clearance Certificate, quite plainly, is a document which basically states that you have never done anything bad that they know of. In order to obtain this, you need to visit your local police lady, who will take your fingerprints and fill out a form (take your ID or Passport). These are placed in a sealed and addressed envelope which you can then post/courier/pidgeon to Pretoria. Once they have received your application, the processing takes about 6-8 weeks. This is no pancake in the park, so best get this bit of business out of the way before you do anything else. The Certification is valid for six months, and may have to be legalised  aka apostille stamp/ certification. Be praperd to have DHL on speed dial. You will also be required to have your degree legalised. In my case I requested another original “copy” of my degree (in English) from the University and just sent in the original. Be aware that the Korean consulate are legally required to keep this document on file so you are not likely to get it back, especially if it is your first time applying for a Korean Visa. Alternatively, get the apostille and keep your original degree.

The other thing you will need, next to endurance, is a small office with equipment the equivalent of a postnet branch, an internet connection with bandwith the size of the pyramids of Giza and a car with petrol. If this is not possible, at least make sure you have a PC that can squeeze out 1Gig of bandwidth and make sure you have a scanner/printer attached to the overworked box.  A car will speed things up, but an unemployed friend with one will also do.

It is also important to know which country you will be visiting, and I have just the lady to give you an honest opinion if you are still out shopping for ideas. The Clumsiest People in Europe Or: A Bad-Tempered Guide to the World by Mrs. Mortimer is an absolute MUST, even if you grab it off the shelf at the airport to read on the plane. It is available from Exclusive Books. Make sure you pay before leave, though.