Visa official: Do you have ties in your country? What a rediculous question!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Please allow me space in your widely read newspaper to add my voice on the latest debate on visa applications and processing at the major foreign embassies in the Gambia, in this case the British embassy.

I have been following the debate with great enthusiasm, and I feel obliged to commend the Daily Observer for tackling an issue that everybody seemed to have been shying away from head on.

Having said that, I must reiterate the notion put forward by the Daily Observer that it is obvious that it won’t be possible for every applicant to be issued  entry visa on application. However, it is disheartening to note that most rejected applications come with some reasons that you always find impossible to understand  by virtue of their ludicrousness.

You often hear questions about your social ties to your country, your working status, so on and so forth. I do not mean they should not ask these questions, but I wonder what the answers to these flimsy questions will mean to the Embassy officials. What ties can be stronger than one’s birth ties to their country? And how can you be expected to get an established job (which seem to be a prep-requisite for visa issuance) if you do not have the required education, which is in fact the reason for most applications.

There was also the point of (self-styled) enemies of the state being issued visa within moments, with no one getting to know about it; often in which case their ties with the country becomes even more questionable.

The British and the Americans need to know that there is no place like home. If we had our way, we would not seek your visa, it is only that you have something that we want, just like we have something that you want.

Kajali Gassama


Author: DO