Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Visas and Patience | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Consulates have every right to take all the time they need to investigate the background of those applying for entry visas however it is too much for the applicant’s passport to be held for a month or two regardless of the reason. Those applicants could need their passports to go on other trips, and I know some people who spend their entire summer holiday waiting for their passports to be returned to them as some consulates do not commit themselves to a time limit with regards to returning visa applicant’s passports.

In this age where information technology has reached the peak of its progress, it is completely unjustified for consulates to hold visa applicant’s passports for a month or more. It would be enough for these consulates to make a copy of the passport, and then take all the time they need to issue the visa.

This summer two friends of mine had two completely different experiences with regards to visa application. The first friend was planning to visit a western country along with his family. All members of this family were granted an entry visa with the exception of the head of the household, and when his passport was finally returned more than a month later, his holiday was practically over and there was not enough time for him to travel.

As for the second experience, this was the experience of a student on a scholarship program abroad who returned to visit his family before applying for a visa to go back to the country where he was studying. However, the consulate kept his passport for around eight tense and anxious weeks, during which my friend had no clue whether he would be able to return to his studies. His passport was finally returned to him just two days before his flight, and it was as if his hope had been restored after he had been driven to desperation.

According to “Arabiya.net” just two years ago Saudi students on scholarships programs in the US launched an online campaign called “my visa procession is threatening my movement” after a large number of Saudi students were forced to spend their summer holidays in the US rather than traveling back to their home country for fear that they would not be granted a second entry visa into the US to continue their studies. Some students spend more than five continuous years in the US without visiting their families in Saudi Arabia, even if some family members had passed on during this time, and I hope that this situation will soon be resolved!