Visa requirements are set up with many valid reasons . . . but reason aside, I still find it exhausting.

Pick a reason for travel:

  • Going on holiday
  • Visiting friends
  • Business meetings
  • Conferences
  • Studying
  • Working abroad
  • Joining a partner/husband/wife
  • Other

THEN – give in your passport, your background, your family’s names and occupations, your travel history, your bank statements for the past three months, two passport-sized photos, your itinerary, proof of your itinerary, your sponsor letter from the people you’re visiting, your application (filled, signed, and dated), your fee (and that isn’t small) . . .

And now wait.

Because there’s nothing else you can do.

Either they accept, reject or ask for more details. If accepted, great stuff. If you’re rejected, you may never learn why. If they need more information, then you start another scramble for collecting and submitting another part of your life once considered private.

I know about this because I had to help my partner submit an application back when Hungary was a visa-required country for visiting Canada. I also know this because now that I’m living in England, and my husband’s an EU citizen, I’m the one having to constantly justify our relationship and prove that I can live in the country.

It’s all right, mind you. I understand why the process exists.

But nevertheless, my sympathy extends to people navigating the visa system. It can be long, it can be revealing, and it can be – largely – a process that leaves you feeling helpless.

What happens next in your life suddenly relies upon the decision of another country, of the people working for their government, of the mood they’re in when they open your application.

That’s the price paid to visit, work, or live in another country (not all countries, but some). So while I know it’s necessary to reduce the amount of refugee claims at the Canadian border, I still feel a sympathetic sting for the legitimate travelers of Mexico and the Czech Republic.

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