Applying for an International MUN: The Visa Adventure
Globalisation, that phenomenon which has made and continues to make our world increasingly interconnected, facilitating communication and interaction between companies, governments and definitely most importantly, MUNs. Keeping global pandemics aside, the 21st century is the time to be alive when it comes to participating in international MUNs. A quick search online will find tons of conferences abroad for you to participate in and in a matter of minutes you will have found yourself your next hot debating destination.
Nonetheless, whilst applying might seem easy at first, a few clicks here and there followed by uploading your motivation letter and passport scan the real deal comes later, especially for those of you needing a visa. It is all fun and games until you find yourself stuck within a web of government bureaucracy in a race against time involving emails, phone calls, paperwork, and formalities. One way or another we have all been in that situation, waiting for what it feels like a lifetime for something you desperately need, be it a Visa request approval, an Amazon package, or your popcorn in the microwave. Whilst my experience as Participants Coordinator won’t really help you with the last two, I might be able to help when it comes to traveling and participating in a conference abroad.
So, if my dystopian description of visa procedures made your blood sugar drop, don’t worry, grab a coke and join me for a new TEIMUN blog entry: Applying for an international MUN – the visa adventure.
Overall, arranging your participation in the conference is a lot like when you buy Ikea furniture. At first, it may seem straightforward when looking at the instructions, in practice, things are much more confusing and time-consuming than what you anticipated but, it is a worthwhile investment.
Having said this and moving on to specific MUN advice the overall take-away is this: start as soon as possible. Procrastination has been the frenemy of all students since the start of times, but when it comes to visa applications there is really no benefit in joining the dark side of delaying the process. Most of the procedure will not be dependent on you but on your embassy and/or other public/private administration so there will not be much you can do to speed up the process if you start running out of time. Because of this, once you know you have been accepted to the conference, start ASAP, make an appointment at the embassy/consulate, and get started with your visa request. Slow and steady wins the race my young Padawans, slow and steady wins the race.
There are three main things to carefully consider during visa applications. First and foremost, make sure you meet or can meet the conditions for getting a visa. Sometimes you will need to have a hotel booked or give a reason deemed ‘good enough’ for your consulate to approve it. In this case we can help you by providing an official statement of acceptance and a formal letter of invitation to the conference. Secondly and as mentioned before, be careful with time, consider minimum and maximum visa processing times and always put yourself in the worst possible scenario. Does it sound dramatic? Yes. But better safe than sorry. Last but not least, think about the length of your stay. TEIMUN participants usually stay a few more days in the Netherlands, exploring the Hague and other cities like Amsterdam. If you haven’t read our blog on the hidden stories and beauty the Hague holds please do! MUN abroad can also last longer than others so if you only want to travel for the hardcore debating experience then make sure your permit lasts at least for the duration of the conference, we don’t want any participants detained by the authorities… unless it’s part of a Historical Crisis Council act.
Finally, if you have any problems, just ask us for help! Our website has a Q&A section where we have responded almost all questions imaginable so be sure to check it out and we are also more than happy to help you out if there’s any other problem, we are only an email away. As I said, we might not be Swedish furniture specialists, we might not be able to heat up your popcorn faster or speed up your Amazon delivery, but we can definitely support you on your visa adventure.
Alma Paunero Martorell, Participants Coordinator, Board of Directors 2019 / 2020