Thursday, September 05, 2013
End Visa Applicants Woes At Embassies
‘End Visa Applicants Woes At Embassies’
Arab Times: KUWAIT CITY, Sept 4
MP Mohammad Tana Al-Enezi urged the Interior Minister and his Foreign Affairs counterpart to end the embarrassing treatment against Kuwaiti visa applicants at the embassies of European countries and the US.
MP Al-Enezi accused the embassies of fixing long-term appointments for Kuwaitis without considering their conditions and noted some of the applicants are seriously ill or under intense pressure to meet up with academic studies, so they do not have time for such delays. He argued that Kuwait accords the citizens of these countries respect to obtain visa at the point of entry without effort, but there is no reciprocity in that regard.
He is of the view that the countries in question should not be acting in that manner knowing that Kuwaitis travel there for tourism, medical treatment or studies and not as refugees or beggars.
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I completely and emphatically agree.
I have helped several people fill out the tourist visa application to the US. The process takes approximately 90 minutes online (for a native English speaker) and some of the questions are bordering on harassment: "Do you intend to visit the United States to engage in prostitution?" for example. Or, "Are you a terrorist?" I found the questions degrading (I should post them....) I don't BLAME MP Al-Enezi for the term "embarrassing." These questions ARE embarrassing. Have some cultural sensitivity!
Kuwait has never asked a US citizen for their bank statements to be able to enter Kuwait (as the US does). IF they did, a whole lot of contractors wouldn't make it here - I can guarantee you that.
The United States enjoys a very good relationship with Kuwait where Americans can get their visas at the airport. The US does not reciprocate in this relationship.
Instead, it asks that you schedule an appointment online (sometimes months in advance if it is peak travel season), pay a 40 KD fee (at Burgan Bank and no other venue), fill out pages and pages of demeaning and demanding online questions. And then wait to hear if you might be granted a visa.
In many cases, people's names are similar to those on watch lists so they must wait longer to be cleared by a security agency back in the States. Sometimes it takes months. I've spoken to US embassy personnel in regards to this and they say, "Oh, but you can easily find out about the visa status online." Sure - IF you want to read the standard response of, "in process." You can never speak to a human about it. I can't tell you how many Kuwaiti friends (some from VERY high ranks) who have called me to say, "Do you know anyone you can call at the US embassy to find out about 'Flan's' visa status?" It's sad.
Imagine if an American went to the Embassy of Kuwait and they were asked to fill out a form asking, "Are you going to Kuwait to engage in prostitution?" That's just crass.
"Do unto others as you would have them do to you." Golden rule, dudes. Seriously.