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04.04.2006 Football News

No special visa dispensation for soccer fans

By GNA

Accra, April 4, GNA - Ghanaian soccer fans intending to travel to Germany to witness the World Cup would not be offered any special immigration flexibility, the German Embassy announced on Tuesday. "Those who hope for a relaxation of our visa requirement for last minute applications would be disappointed," Mr Peter Linder, the German Ambassador to Ghana said at the opening of an ultra modern Visa Reception Centre in Accra.

Mr Linder said, "All visa applicants, including soccer fans would go through the German Immigration Act and of the Schengen regulations and legal provisions for acquisition of German Visa, which does not allow any flexibility."

He said each visa applicant would be assessed based on the same German Visa qualification requirement, "we have not entered into any agreement with any individual or institution for facilitation of visa application."

Mr Linder advised soccer fans of the Black Stars who wish to watch the team play in Germany not to wait until the last moment to hand in their applications for visitor's visa required for the trip. He said the Embassy's Visa Section together with the Visa Reception Center would strive hard to offer the bes t service possible, regardless of the numbers of applicants.

The Ambassador however cautioned the visa applicants' to be aware that the resources are not unlimited and that "the earlier an application is handed, in the faster it would be processed." Mr Linder also cautioned soccer fans against the operations of fraudsters to secure their visa, adding that such middlemen cannot assist them and every applicant is expected to handle his own case. "Apply directly and be honest about your true intentions and I assure you that you would be treated in a fair and objective manner by the Embassy's Consular staff".

He said any application with false or wrong information would be rejected.

Mr Linder, whilst commending the efforts of companies and institutions offering incentive packages to mobilize support for the Black Stars through the organization of raffles that promises winners tickets to the World Cup, said "winning a World Cup ticket in such a draw does not guarantee automatic issuance of a visa to Germany". "Each case is an individual application where the applicant has to qualify according to the normal procedures," he said.

The German Visa Reception Centre at Number 19, 2nd Crescent, Asylum Down, Accra seeks to enhance efficiency, reduce procession time and eliminate fraudsters.

The Centre is a collaborative venture between the Germany Embassy and 'VFS', an India Private Company to offer visitors or business visa applicants counselling and assistance in the procession modalities and enhance documentation of applicants.

"The long and sometimes unpleasant waiting periods at our visa section would be avoided, likewise it is assuring for the applicant to know that with one's visa application pre-checked by the Visa Reception Centre, one would not be refused because of missing or incomplete documents at the Visa counter any more," Mr Linder assured the public.

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