Mar. 16th, 2004

urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The British Embassy's "e-fastrack" online visa application system is fairly scary.

When I started filling out the application, I was semi-pleased that the system allows one to save the application and come back. (Reasonably basic, but not always offered.) However, it threw up an incorrect login/password error every time I tried to save. This was a bit nerve-wracking until I noticed that it saved the data anyway, then became merely annoying. I should say, it fairly consistently saved; there was a bit of confusion when [ profile] vatine went to complete the application, and it offered him first a blank page, then plopped him down about mid-application, in questions I'd supposedly completed.

During several sessions messing with the online form as I got more information, a number of other strange errors popped up. The most disturbing one occurred after I'd saved a page and gone back to the "retrieve application" page, to get around the "incorrect login/password" garbage (with no apparent exit from that page). The displayed application was for some Kishore person's transit visa. As if my confidence needed increasing at that point.

The application itself struck me as a bit strange. Their approach is to determine which application you need from how you answer questions in the first part, rather than allowing you to select the appropriate application. Mine defaulted to "Marriage visa" as I noticed later, which is close enough, with any luck--they do both use a VAF2 form normally. Oddly, not all the questions on the regular VAF2 were asked; I was using the PDF version as a reference for any additional information I might need, since I was only allowed to see the section of the online application I was working on at the time. Some of the text boxes were also miniscule--try to fill in your plans for employment or educational qualifications in 50 characters or less. :)

I was very relieved to have [ profile] vatine point out to me that the application is now marked as submitted and paid, when he went to poke at it again. Yay! With any luck, the documentation will get there within the next day or so, and the visa will be here in time for the trip the 2nd of April. I suppose I wouldn't be going anywhere otherwise, with no passport, but I wasn't looking forward to trying to enter the UK without a proper visa again, given my apparently flagged passport. Ack.

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