A Successful Guide to Visa Application to Rich Countries for the Hopeful African

For the last two months, I have been locked in an intense battle of wills with the Canadian Visa Processing Center officials (click link to see summary on Facebook). Previously, I have only traveled to Uganda and Rwanda, countries that are part of the East Africa Community so visas are not required for Kenyan citizens. When I came to Japan, I was (still am) under the Japanese government scholarship so the visa application process was a breeze.

In July, I have to go present an academic paper I wrote at a conference in Toronto, Canada. Having no family in Japan, I was planning on taking Jeremy along with me and took for granted I would get his visa as well as mine. They granted (grant is the right word for they are small lords with a lot of power to guard tightly the borders against unwanted individuals) me the visa and refused (their term) Jeremy. I fear 3 year old boys could cause crime or steal jobs over there. I tried to reapply so in total I made 4 applications and all 4 were rejected on grounds such as travel history (he is 3 years old and has already lived in 2 continents!), immigration status in Japan (should he have a working visa, he is 3!), purpose of travel (is he going to Canada to engage in work illegally perhaps), personal assets (unfortunately I don’t have a savings account in his name, neither does he have a trust fund), lack of proof of relationship, custody agreement, and birth certificate (finally, valid reasons for which I provided the documentation).. but I finally gave up. They won. Fear not, I found someone to look after him for the 1 week I will be gone, but I have learned a lot from that visa application process that I want to share that wisdom with other hopeful visa applicants.

Enjoy the flowchart. Click on it to open and then click again to make it a little bigger. Best viewed on a laptop, not phone. Apologies for typos, don’t have time to correct them.

For EACH question, provide NO LESS THAN 10 DOCUMENTS as proof, SIGNED, SEALED and AUTHENTICATED by the HIGHEST authority in the land. If any witnesses need to sign the documents, make sure they SIGN IN BLOOD. Then sprinkle the documents with a DRAGON’S TEARS to improve your chances of getting the visa.

By rich country, I mean the G7 – USA, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan as well as Scandinavian Europe, Switzerland, Russia, China, Singapore or any other country that considers itself rich. And everyone considers themselves richer than Africans.

If at the end of the flowchart your answer is FORGET ABOUT IT, take my advice and invest that money you were going to use in a lottery, trust me your chances of winning the lottery are higher than the chance you’ll get a visa. You will be happier too. If you had prepared any documents, take the documents and all your visa dreams, dig the deepest hole you possibly can – until the Earth’s core is fine – throw the documents and dreams in it, watch them melt away and go live your life happily in your third world country.

A Successful Guide to Visa Application

A Successful Guide to Visa Application

  • Hahahaha, I love the diagram, especially the “have you ever traveled to any rich country before? ….then yes, you lucky bastard thing. Unfortunately, I haven’t, neither am I very rich, nor do I have rich relations nor business or property. But I am a writer (Just finished writing my first book.) And I am interested in pursuing publishing options in said “rich countries” …why, my book stands a chance of reaching epic read levels in those countries duh, further more my target audience reside in those countries. (My genre of choice is high fantasy) ….and there in lies my dilemma, am very sure that one of the requirement of publishing a book will be to travel to those countries to perform an authors P.R, there fore, sometime in the future, i WILL DEFINITELY have to apply for a visa. Woe to me. Good article anyways, thanks for informing me of that which awaits me.

    • savvykenya

      “further more my target audience reside in those countries” are you saying Africans don’t read high fantasy? Is your book already published, would love to check it out. Don’t worry, you’ll get a visa, but don’t be surprised if they ask to test your DNA first.

      • Haha, Africans read high fantasy yes, but not in large numbers. See, that genre targets young adults. 15 to 25 I would say, and as a Kenyan am sure you understand, that in Kenya an am certain majority of African countries, those years are not exactly “reading years.” ….. My book though is in its preliminary stages (In terms of publication I mean) I just finished writing the first draft on Monday and now I have to revise, edit and proofread the whole thing, thereafter I will start pitching literary agents and writing query letters. I am not going to bore you with the details, but optimistic as i am, i know the book will come out. I will let you know when it does. Xoxo

        • savvykenya

          I don’t agree with you that those years are not “reading years”; they are but many are reading for academic purposes. So as a Kenyan, I know there are readers. Just that they may not have time because they are studying to pass exams, or money to buy the books because their families are spending it on food. I believe it’s just a matter of economics rather than “Africans don’t read” kind of mentality. Good luck with your book.

  • Bertil75

    This is so funny. And sad at the same time due to the desperation levels these countries put us in.

    • savvykenya

      There is no dignity in the visa application process. It is discriminate, invasive in every manner (financially, medically etc), and assumes we are all dying to go live in the backstreets of their countries, even if we sometimes are.

  • That bureaucracy is what makes me feel it’s just not worth the effort at times, especially for us Africans. And why are Nigerians always on the receiving end of things LOL!

    • savvykenya

      The Nigerians are also always on the giving end.. they like giving people money they have been left behind as inheritance!

  • Funny but sadly true. But we never surrender and this may be why an increasing number of unscrupulous people in Africa will offer ‘alternative travel arrangements’ to the Rich countries.

    • savvykenya

      I think the people who get on the boats are told “you’ll be given a house, a car and a monthly paycheck just by being in the country”, and no one can turn away from such a dream. While it is true there exists welfare systems in these countries, it’s not like you’ll just walk off the boat and get them. Lots of gullible people out there, and lots of people who apply for visas to conferences and then never go back to their home countries. The problem here is just how bad are our countries – even when not at war- that we will risk to lose everything including our lives, and sense of community, acceptance that we have in our home countries, to get as far away as we can. We need to improve our countries so everyone has the chance to make it there.

  • Penina Thande

    How true, funny & sad at the same time! Always enjoy reading your posts. Keep writing!

    • savvykenya

      It’s sad, I’ve never felt as discriminated as I did during this process.

  • France and Germany should not be in that list, they are way more considerate. Replace those with Australia.

    • savvykenya

      Everyone’s experience is different. Someone left a comment on my facebook post about the trauma she has suffered dealing with a German visa for her daughter.

      And while not exactly about the visa, read what Mrs. Mwiti had to go through when going through immigration in Paris http://mrsmwiti.com/?p=4635

      Another friend also had a smooth experience with the Canadian visa application. For a few people, their experience might be ok. For the majority, it’s a nightmare.