Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

My Wife, the International Threat | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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More than 4 months ago, I applied for visas for my wife and I at the consulate of a particular country. I was told at the time that the application procedure would take no more than a week, however 4 weeks passed before the consulate in question returned my passport with the visa affixed. When I asked about my wife’s visa I was informed that her application was still being examined and that I should wait. After almost seven weeks had passed since we first applied for the visas our patience began to wear thin. We requested that the consulate return her passport and carry on its procedure in whatever manner it deemed appropriate, then ask for the passport again in order to either grant or refuse the via, in the same manner that other consulate’s operate. To keep possession of my wife’s passport for an indefinite period of time was inexplicable to me.

When we were forced to withdraw the passport in order to travel to another destination we found out that we would have to pay for a new visa should this be granted, and this is precisely what happened a few days later.

As the passport is an official document that one needs to travel, the consulate’s insistence on keeping one’s passport during the visa application process does not take people’s interests into account, and does not comply with any acceptable logic. If it is within a country’s rights to verify the identity of its visitors, then it is within the visitors rights to not have their passports held for an indefinite period of time.

My wife’s passport being held for this length of time by the consulate gave me the chance to tease her for being a dangerous woman; a woman who forced the consulate to investigate her life for such a period of time. Speaking seriously, I do not see any justification whatsoever for such a long period of investigation into a woman who is well inter her fifties and who has already visited the country in question a number of times, a woman who has no history of political activity, and who has never been involved in any kind of legal dispute, whether domestically or abroad, other than marrying me.

Nevertheless, both my wife and I perfectly understand that every country has the right to grant or deny a person a visa to their country. But what we cannot grasp is why they must keep hold of the visa applicant’s passport for such long periods of time without any justification, not to mention imposing extra payments when a person has to withdraw their passport and present it again.

Who is able to understand what is going on?