[Tagging] visa offices tags

Johnparis okosm at johnfreed.com
Thu Nov 8 07:37:10 UTC 2018

I tagged one of these office=visa the other day.


The offices I'm thinking of are private companies that have government
contracts to provide services that the government itself would normally
provide. In many cases they are indistinguishable from a government office,
so the question of verifiability enters my mind.

For instance, the UK visa office in Paris has big signs outside and inside
reading "Welcome to Great Britain". I'm frankly not sure if the space is
rented by the UK or by TLS Contact, which holds the contract.


Their staff members gather the information for your application, including
fingerprints, photos, etc., as well as your passport. They then seal this
in a clear plastic container. After it is sealed, you cannot add or remove
anything. The fee is set by the UK and paid to TLS Contact.

The dossier then goes to London, where a decision is made on your visa and
the entire dossier is returned to Paris. You pick it up next door to the
original office from someone behind bulletproof glass. (You don't learn the
nature of the decision till you look at your passport.) This is the only
way to get a UK visa in Paris. If you go to the UK Embassy or Consulate,
they will direct you to the visa office.

Is this an "office=government"? It certainly is quasi-governmental. Do they
provide visa services? Surely yes, in my mind. In fact, they are the only
place in Paris that provide visa services for the UK. If you want to get
any kind of visa -- long term (expat), tourist, transit -- that's where you

So (agreeing with John Willis) I'd say office=visa for these.


On Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 6:16 AM John Willis <johnw at mac.com> wrote:

> Is the office full of people who you pay to help you apply? Or are they
> contracted to be the front-otfice of the agency (acceptance &
> distribution)?
> It seems to be the latter.
> Think of taxes.
> The office where you submit taxes, and an office where a professional
> helps you prepare the forms are two different places.
> Office=tax_preparation and office=tax are different.
> If this is some office (public or private) with an official mandate to
> accept applications and distribute visas (whether approved onsite
> immidately or approved elsewhere and mailed to the office for
> distribution), that does sound like office=visa.
> If it is some private business who you pay to help you prepare the form,
> and you mail it to the government and get your visa directly, it sounds
> like office=visa_preperation or office=immigration_lawyer.
> I am unfamiliar with the situation you described - so please choose the
> best tag that suits your needs.
> Javbw
> On Nov 8, 2018, at 11:37 AM, Eugene Alvin Villar <seav80 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 9:29 AM Warin <61sundowner at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Nov 7, 2018, at 7:12 AM, Warin <61sundowner at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 1) this is a commercial firm - not a government
>> authority/branch/department/etc
>> 2) it 'assist' people to obtain a visa
>> 3) it is not at an airport/seaport/boarder
>> 4) the visa is obtained before travel commences.
>> It is an office you go to. You present documents, they ask questions, you
>> answer, you pay a fee,
>> the office fills out forms using that information provided (and they then
>> send it off to an embassy/consulate)
>> and then some time later you get a visa back from the office (but the
>> visa itself is actually from the embassy/consulate).
>> In the above situation, what is wrong with office=visa ? You apply to the
>> office, they (usually) get you a visa.
> Here, the Japanese consulate never accepts direct visa application and
> instructs people to only submit visa applications through accredited travel
> agencies.
> On the other hand, many European consulates here contract a 3rd-party visa
> processing company such as the aforementioned VFS Global to handle all visa
> applications. These companies even have equipment to collect biometric data
> such as photographs and fingerprints that will be forwarded to the
> consulates together with the visa applications.
> I would think that the first case should be tagged like other travel
> agencies because visa handling is just one of their services (they also
> arrange tours and purchase airline tickets). For the second case, they do
> nothing else besides processing visa applications on behalf of the
> contracting consulates. So they are not travel agencies. I think they
> should indeed be tagged with something like office=visa or better yet
> office=visa_processing so it is clearer.
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