A lot of people do not consider this question but it is very important when planning a trip abroad. There have been instances where people have been refused entry by the immigration officers of the host country due to simple omission or commission which could have been averted.
There are many factors that account for some of these mishaps. This article would digest some of the factors that account for this and what a traveler needs to do after acquiring a visa.
It is always a joy to have your request for a visa granted, most people would either call their families, friends to break the good news or head straight to their pastors or imams to tell them the good thing that the Lord has done for them.
Acquiring a visa to travel overseas is a very difficult task in this part of the world. This is so because of several factors, some of these factors include the lack of opportunities in ones’ home country, the economic situation or the frustrations associated with the system.
Visa acquisition to Europe, Canada or the United States of America does not come that easy and that is why people would do whatever possible, including the payment of huge sums of money to middlemen for such services, what most people do not know is the enormous powers that are wielded by the immigration of the host countries. People have been refused entries at the borders or immigration points of the host country due to simple errors or negligence on their part.
The following steps serve as a guide to prospective travelers with visas.
Fair knowledge of host or country of visit
There have been instances where immigration officers have returned prospective travelers with valid visas because they failed to answer basic questions relating to their trip. If you are traveling for a family visit, please make sure you have the house address of your host, her contact number and relevant information about her.
The answers you provided during your interview must be the same whenever you are being interrogated by an immigration officer, if the trip is for tourism, go online and read about the country, note some few places of interest and mentioned them when you are asked where you want to visit. If the trip is a business trip, provide the immigration officer with the name and address of the company and any other information that you think might be of importance to your trip.
Carry your relevant documents along
Copies of all the documents you used to apply for your visa must be carried along, you might be asked for copies of such documents by the immigration officer and failure to produce same might result in your deportation. For tourism trips, please carry a copy of your hotel reservation along and show it to the officer upon request.
For family visits, please ensure that you have a copy of the invitation from your host, a copy of her passport and any other thing that can convince the immigration officer. In case it is a business trip, please carry a copy of your company documents, copies of business transactions between your company and the inviting company and any other documents related to your trip. Do not cancel your hotel reservations after acquiring the visa, some immigration officers check the validity of your hotel bookings and if it is found out that the hotel has been cancelled, you might be deported or given the opportunity to book a new one.
Carry enough money on you or on your credit card
During your interview at the Embassy, you might be asked about the amount of money you have available for your trip. This questions helps the interviewer in determining whether you have enough for your trip or you might end up stranded in the host country. Please ensure that you have enough money for your trip, some immigration officers would ask of the amount you have for your trip and also inspect your cash and credit cards, failure to declare enough funds may lead to you deportation.
Be confident and bold
One part of the work of an immigration officer is profiling of travelers, the officer has been trained to watch out for travelers who act funny. Whenever you are picked for interrogation, keep calm and be confident, lack of confidence may result in the immigration officers suspecting you to have an intention different from what you stated at the time of acquiring your visa.
For travelers to the Schengen region, it is always advisable to travel to the country that granted you the visa first before touring other Schengen areas. You would be denied entry in Germany if you applied for your visa at the Holland embassy and you chose to visit Germany with your visa.
Guidance from an experienced traveler or a consultant
It is important to always ask for guidance from experienced travelers or other people with knowledge on travel matters whenever you are granted a visa.
For a first time traveler who used the services of a middle man to acquire a visa, it is advisable to always check the authenticity of the visa granted to you. This can be done through a travel consultant or through the Ghana Immigration Service. This is very important because there have been instances when middle men have faked visas for their clients leading to their arrest at the airport.
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.