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Opinions of Sunday, 26 January 2020

Columnist: Mustapha Jimah

Travel Matters – A guide to visa acquisition


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Ghanaians love to travel and this is evident in the long queues one sees at various European and other embassies dotted around the country. The purpose of their trip may be family visit, tourism, business, education, sports or family reunion. Different visas are issued for different trips and it is important for a prospective traveler to be well abreast with the purpose of his trip before embarking on one.

Trips such as business, tourism and family visit are all categorized as short stay visits whiles family reunion, employment and education may fall under the long stay category. The challenges most Ghanaians face in acquiring a visa may be as a result of the little or no knowledge most people have about their trips or documents that they need to submit for such trips.

Due to economic and other reasons, a lot of Ghanaians are now interested in traveling outside to seek greener pastures, but most of these prospective travelers found it difficult presenting genuine documents at the embassies or are prepared to pay large sums of money to agents for fake documents to support their application.

It is important to state that every trip has its requirement and failure to meet such requirements may usually result in a visa refusal. It is incumbent on every prospective traveler to plan his trip well before embarking on one. Failure to do so may result in his visa application being refused or the person becoming stranded in the host country.

Researching about one’s trip is very critical in the application process, an applicant should be well abreast with information on the visa process and the host country. A visa applicant must first know the type of visa he needs, the requirement for such visas. This information is mostly found on the website of the host country or at the reception of the embassies.

Acquiring such information helps the applicant to prepare the required documents for his trip. It also keeps the applicant abreast as to what to know about his visa acquisition process. Since most embassies interview applicants, it is important for the applicant to prepare adequately for the interview process with the consular officer at the embassy.

Most people apply for tourism visa at their first attempt to travel abroad, this may be so because they either do not have any of their relationship in the host country or their relation is illegally resident in the host country. In applying for a visa at any embassy, it is incumbent upon the applicant to be abreast of the requirements for such visas and take the necessary steps to meet same.

For a tourism visa, the documents one has to submit include an itinerary, a hotel booking, travel insurance, a bank statement, an introductory letter from your office or school and a completed application form. Additional documents to show proof of your genuine intentions during your encounter with the consular officer may increase your chances of been granted the visa. These additional documents should be enough to prove your strong family, social and economic ties.

The next part of this article would be on the documentation, interview process and how to convince the consular officer of the genuineness of your trip.

Mustapha Jimah

mustaphajimah@gmail.com

The writer is a former consular officer at the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana and currently the CEO of Musjima Ventures. His interest is in travel matters and migration issues. For enquiries call or whatsapp me on 0262677946

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