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Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

Adelaide
Level Contributor
70 posts
38 reviews
26 helpful votes
Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

I have just got my visa back from the Embassy in Canberra after a long wait and a lot of wondering whether it would really happen. But I am glad I only checked the Tripadvisor forum because I have just discovered a post last week on the Lonely Planet forum that would have scared the crap out of me. The thread was started by someone who had been trying to contact the embassy by phone and email without success. One of the respondents replied that they had eventually got through and was told that there were currently 1800 applications to deal with. 1800! No wonder they don't answer the phone or respond to email. For the mathematically minded, to get through that pile in 6 weeks (30 working days) they would have to do 60 per day, For one person working 6 hours that would be one every 6 minutes. I wonder how many staff they have just doing visas? The system is coping so there must be enough. If that is 1800 just from Australia and NZ, it is not surprising that accommodation is a bit tight. I'm thinking I should also take a packed lunch in case they run out of food. And don't drink all the wine before I get there!!!

Robbo

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
314 posts
61 reviews
33 helpful votes
31. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

Just got back from our trip...our visas took 5 1/2 weeks from posting to delivery..I called them once and apparently there were only two people working on visas...we had a great time it is an interesting country to visit with lots to offer and so much to see...enjoy your trip....

Adelaide
Level Contributor
70 posts
38 reviews
26 helpful votes
32. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

There seems to be some confusion about what sort of visas can be arranged by travel agents in Myanmar. True VOA is only available for business travellers arriving with the appropriate letters of invitation, ministry documents etc. However, if you have booked tours, flights etc with a Myanmar travel agent, then they should be able to organise a VOA given sufficient lead time (I was quoted 3 weeks, but I think it is actually 12 working days). I have checked with the agent who organised our recent trip and they only organise TOURIST visas, but they only do that for those that book through them. So, if you are genuinely short of time, email a few tour companies recommended on TA and see what they can do. We used Tour Mandalay and they were terrific for organising hotels, transfers etc, and were more than happy to arrange a VOA with 3 weeks notice for $30 for the visa and $30 for the processing fee.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
30 posts
12 reviews
9 helpful votes
33. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

Hi hope these suggestions assist have been watching comments.I have called Myanmar embassey 4 times in last 10 days I called 62733811. I start calling at 8.45am and have got though twice after 3 rings.The other times I kept calling and got through within 30 minutes.Line may be either engaged or go to message saying messages are full. Ignore that keep trying.Same lady answers be polite and she will try to help all though even after 4 calls she still did not remember my previous calls.I applied 11/11/12 my passport/visa left the embassey 18/12/12.

I depart 26/12/12 so its been slightly anxiety producing. I called again today got straight thru again at 9am and I asked for the registered mail item number so I could track with Australia Post.Today, day after I was told passport was sent to PO,Australia Post did not have item listed as I was told embassey's deliver registered items in bulk.Been told 3 days to arrive at my local PO ( in NSW), so all going well it should arrive so I pick up friday which is 4 days before I depart...keeping in mind xmas day is a holiday.Cutting it fine would think .During my calls I was 1st told they were overwelmed with applications and had 1800, this number increased by 3rd call to over 2000. I suggest you call as above they will ask your departure date, embassey may close till Janurary so be prepared to fly and pick it up.Keep in mind I have not actually got my passport back yet its in transit... fingers crossed. I'm travelling solo also so 1 passport is easier than a group.They must be under the pump keep that in mind I think they are trying.Good luck let me know how you go.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
27 posts
4 reviews
3 helpful votes
34. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

Howdy Soulsing, that is nerve wracking I agree.

Do you know if the embassy will close? Did the woman who answered suggest this?

I reckon the staff at the embassy are doing a fantastic job under crazy conditions - so many applications and no real capacity to deal with this. There are only a few staff and they keep having to pull the urgent ones out and process them. I think that if people get their visas back in time to travel, a quick thank you note might be a fine idea - just know there are people struggling to get everyone sorted for their holidays.

Soulsing please let us know when your visa arrives.

Warks.England
Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
Level Contributor
18,588 posts
424 reviews
1,193 helpful votes
35. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

One specialist Agency that seems to offer a pre-arranged tourist VOA may be of interest to you Aussies as the turnaround promised is a lot quicker than the Embassy is offering.

www.evisaasia.com/myanmar-visa-requirement

There cost is higher ($100) than Travel agents but you do not have to book the tour through them. The site is user friendly and whilst I have no personal experience of them it might be worth a try for those worrying about not having your passport back in time.

SS

Adelaide
Level Contributor
70 posts
38 reviews
26 helpful votes
36. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

A zillion thanks SS.

I'm not sure how you found this site but you will earn the gratitude of a lot of stressed Australians and Kiwis. The extra cost seems to be a minor issue, compared to the uncertainty that reigns is Oz and NZ.

Well done!

Rob

Sydney, Australia
3 posts
2 reviews
3 helpful votes
37. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

I mailed visa request 13 November, which was received by the Embassy on 15 November. I leave 25 December - which is nearly 6 weeks after I lodged the application. Bear in mind that the Embassy website states a minimum of 4 weeks. While I was a little anxious, at no stage did I really think my passport wouldn't arrive on time and was prepared to drive to Canberra on Monday 24 December to make sure I had it.

Given that I had complied with the stated timeframes and that travel insurance doesn't cover not getting your visa on time, I was seriously considering the options available to me to recover any payments I had made. The financial and reputational implications to the Embassy of not processing visas within the stated timeframes is another reason why I think all visa will be returned just in time for departures.

I eventually rang on the 19 December and was told my passport was mailed on 18 December and so I'm expecting it to arrive on 20 December.

Have a great trip everybody.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
30 posts
12 reviews
9 helpful votes
38. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

Hi,

Australia post took 2.5 days to get passport from ACT to me via registered mail. So have visa ,all all track for departure.. Will sleep tonight !

If I ever need this visa again I will be applying 3 months in advance not 7 weeks. Good luck HOPE ALL GOES WELL!

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
27 posts
4 reviews
3 helpful votes
39. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

Thanks Soulsing. Is that Aust Post from Canberra to Sydney? even at this time of year its a bit long.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
30 posts
12 reviews
9 helpful votes
40. Re: Visas from Australia - a frightening statistic

ACT to Newcastle, registered post articles take 3 days so Aust post say , so 2.5 days is pretty good.All the best.,