Every year, thousands of tourists of different nationalities are held subject to a series of procedures only to travel abroad. You’ve got that right, I am talking about that injustice, that is called ‘visa’, which is to be actually ‘bought’ by a lot of world citizens in order to enter some foreign countries like the UK, the USA or the Schengen Countries.
The well known fact is that those countries have their reasons to ask for a visa from the citizens of a number of countries. But have you ever given a thought to how it is possible for an ‘outsider’ to be just a ‘tourist’ in one of those countries? Have you any idea what documents are to be presented to prove that your sole intention to visit a particular country is holiday and holiday only? Do you know how annoying it is to be (in some cases) questioned over and over and have them record your fingerprints just because you want to spend some time in a different country?
If your answer to the questions I asked is ‘Yes’, then you definitely know what I mean. But for those who have no idea how to get a visa, let me explain the procedure a little bit. Normally, when you apply for a visa to enter one of the countries I mentioned in the first paragraph, you are required to bring some (a lot of!) documents to the embassy, or to the company that the embassy works with. What you have to prove to the embassy and which documents to bring for that purpose is as follows:
1. Social Status
You need to prove that you are a student, or an employee with the documents you get from your institution or company. Your registrar or manager has to sign some papers declaring that you study or work at that particular place. Some countries even require your most recent diploma and transcript, as if they were going to beat you for not being a good student. To make matters even worse, if you apply as an employee, you need to supply a copy of your company’s tax registration certificate, only to prove that it is a real company.
Most countries have a fixed budget limit for a day of touristic visit. If you cannot provide that, you’re not granted a visa in some cases. Although in practice, I have managed to get a visa with my account of -200 (yeah, it was minus), I’ve seen some people rejected for that. I think my social status made up for my lack of finances at that moment.
Anyway, in order to prove that you have got a sufficient amount of money to cover your holiday, of course you have to present the embassy a copy of your account activities, provided by your bank. But it’s not only that, of course, you also have to give them a photocopy of your credit card. As funny as it is to photocopy your credit card, it is something that they want in order to ‘grant’ you ‘entry clearance’.
If you are a student, things are even worse, because then you have to bring everything that I have mentioned for your mother and father separately, which doubles the required documents.
3. Proof of your holiday accommodation
Just another ridiculous requirement… In order to have your application accepted, you also have to provide the embassy with the print-out of a hotel or hostel reservation. If you say, ‘Well, I can speak the local language, for sure I’ll find a hotel at least…’, you get rejected (with some exceptions). It is that simple. If you’ll move on to another country after your stay in the first one, you’ll have to provide the same for the second one, too.
4. Proof of your return
May be the most important thing that will get you a visa is that you have to prove you’ll go back to your country. To me, this is the only part that makes sense, because no country wants illegal immigrants in its territory. But the application is still funny, because all you need to do is to provide a flight booking print-out and nobody checks if you cancel it or not, once you get your visa. That takes us to the point of the fact that it is just for the sake of becoming a burden, not for looking for actual proof.
5. Proof of military status
Yes, that’s right. If you apply as a citizen of a country where national service is obligatory, you have to bring a document to the embassy, stating your military status. I am not sure entirely but my guess is that you are more of a ‘suspect’ if you have not completed your service yet.
6. The Visa Fee
I like this one the best, really. In order to have your visa, you need to pay your tribute! You have all the documents they ask for, but you still have to pay. For a tourist visit type of Schengen Visa, you have to pay 60 Euros, a British Visa valid up to 6 months costs $136 and to enter the USA, you have to pay $160, as if you did not have enough travel expenses to travel overseas. Pay it, because that is the only option.
7. Travel Insurance
Naturally, you shouldn’t be living the lie of thinking that the host country will care for you if you have an accident or get sick. Of course, you’ll be treated in their hospitals, but for a price! You can only get around this price by having a travel insurance and presenting it to the embassy you’re making your visa application.
That’s more or less what you have to do to get your precious visa, to have your ‘holiday clearance’. In most cases, you won’t have any problem getting your visa, provided you complete this endless list of documents and have them ready for your visa application. Still, noone guarantees that you’ll get your visa once you do all the things mentioned above, and if your application is rejected, there is no refund. Neat, isn’t it?
But you still miss the best part, having a visa does not necessarily mean you’ll enter the country (yes, this is written on your visa), although chances are you will have no problem once you have it, if the border police is in a good mood. Another ridiculous thing about the regulations, however, is that the application is almost never bilateral. While the citizens of country X can enter your country only with an ID card (yeah, not even a passport) you have to go through all those procedures and get robbed meanwhile.
And there’s even more! Since the embassies are not in every city, you have to travel to that city first and apply there personally. If your application is rejected, you lose the visa fee plus your travel expenses!
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, the countries have their reasons to do all these to the citizens of other countries. But for God’s sake, if this isn’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater, then what is? It is obvious that those countries are trying to keep their territory safer, free from illegal immigrants or terrorist attacks, everyone can see that. Plus, travel insurance is a good thing, I know, I wouldn’t want to consume the social resources of the country I’m in only for a holiday. But is it really necessary to treat everyone as a ‘potential terrorist’ or a ‘potential illegal immigrant’? And do you really believe this stops people from immigrating illegaly to those countries?
Here’s another obvious fact for everyone, illegal immigrants continue to be a pain in the neck for many countries, DESPITE the visa regulations. Countries are trying to deal with this through readmission agreements, and it works only to some extent.
So, as I said, people will continue to immigrate illegaly, as long as they want to. No country has put an end to this 100% so far, and I doubt any ever will. The legal visitors of those countries already do everything legally, because they know how they will be treated in embassies or borders and they are too proud to come across with any type of law enforcement in the country they visit. This doesn’t change the fact that what is illegal, remains illegal.
I can write about this for another 5000 words, however, I’m going to end it here since I believe I have been able to give you a quick glance of what it is like to get a visa, the quickest I could give, at least. I strongly believe that such an uncertainty plus the expenses are unacceptable for most people, so the tourist visit type of visas have to be abolished. Work permits and residence permits are different things and I can support this kind of a procedure for them, but having your fingerprints recorded like a criminal just because you want to have a holiday is degrading in its most simple definition, which is just another reason to prefer visa-free countries.
The Injustice That is the Tourist Visa / Turistik vize nedir?
The Injustice That is the Tourist Visa / Turistik vize nedir?