Today is Day 18 of our New Zealand visa challenge. And I tell you, anxiety is an understatement. We scheduled a pick up of our requirements last March 5th, and an acknowledgment e-mail from the embassy informed us that they have received our documents last March 7th, which marked the start of The Waiting Game.
The Big Trip
We booked for our trip October of last year during a seat sale by Jetstar Asia. Initially, we planned on going to Australia this year but that sale changed our plans big time. Since then, we already researched about the how to’s in acquiring a visitor visa application for us, Philippine passport holders. This is where we got the procedures, requirements, and the application forms - www.immigration.govt.nz/... - Other than this, we also inquired from a couple of Travel Agencies so we can be sure about all the documents. But in the end, we did not go through them because of their processing fees which will cost us a few thousands.
Two of the main requirements in a visitor visa application are flight and hotel itineraries, which (the sad part) are not refundable in case a visa gets denied. We booked a Singapore-Auckland and Christchurch-Singapore flight that cost us around Php30,000 (USD680) each. As for accommodation, we used all our credits in Hotel Club to book an overnight stay in Auckland. We also got good deals in GrabOne NZ, so we booked a hostel in Rotorua. For the rest of our stay, we made reservations via Hostel Bookers and got charged 10% of the total hostel bill which is an advantage for us.
Even though they are not required by the embassy, we also already bought Magic Bus Transport Passes for the both of us. We got them at a bargain for NZD349 (Php11,800) each. Prior to this, we were considering on renting a car and touring the country on our own. But due to time and money constraints, we decided on the bus passes. We also managed to grab some 50% discount on some activities like a half day hike at the Franz Josef Glaciers and passes for the Total Tower Experience at The Sky Tower in Auckland. And right now as we write this, there is an ongoing deal at GrabOne for a 50% off for The Auckland Bridge Climb. We are still contemplating on whether it is reasonable to purchase or not.
All in all, we have already spent roughly Php50,000 (USD1,136) each on this trip and we haven’t even stepped a foot on NZ yet. Imagine how much damage it would cost us if ever (knock on wood) our visa applications get denied.
Anyway, we are quite confident since we completed all their requirements and put in some extra docs to support our applications. But it doesn’t melt away the feeling of paranoia especially when it is taking too long. Ever since the waiting game has started, our days are spent waiting for an email from the embassy, and our nights praying for God’s guidance. This experience, no matter what the outcome will be, has definitely taught us to save up for what we really want in our lives, and work harder for it to become a reality.
Written and contributed by 2girls1journey