07 December 2012

Visas - What a nightmare

For those of us lucky souls who live in Cape Town, all is not always bliss. Travelling involves many visas and much money. Some embassies are pleasant and accommodating, others are awful, totally autocratic and one wonders why they are like that? Is it purely a money making exercise or are they truly terrified that we will do something unspeakable while on their hallowed soil?
South Africa has thousands of illegal immigrants from all over Africa - that seems OK with our government but these same countries  don't offer reciprocals rights to us when trying to enter their countries.
Take my British Visa application - reams of paperwork - just about wanting to know when I last visited the loo. Then it's appointment time plus hard cash. When you arrive at the door, strip yourself of cell phone etc before you may enter the hallowed hall. Reams of paperwork is scrutinised, then it's off the the finger-print section. Oh my, this is another problem. Hold your thumb down firmly, I am instructed. Both hands have to be finger-printed, then the thumbs and heaven help you if they don't show up on the screen!! Push them down, they say. How hard I want to ask? Must I break them first?
And the photo - this is not just any old photo - it's a biometric photo. Now my head is not exactly straight any longer (crazy, OK?) so it tilts to one side. Please keep your head straight I am told. Now this is actually a difficult exercise for me these days! You only have to view my photos to see that my horizon is always tilted!! Thank heavens for photo software. Anyway, eventually one can escape and hope that the visa is issued in time for the trip!!!
The Angolans must be the worst ever. The visa fee jumped from R1000.00 to R2500.00 in the blink of an eye. Now how does one possibly justify this sort of increase? How many illegal Angolans are living in South Africa? Thousands - but we cannot get into their country without paying an absolute fortune in hard cash and then having hours and hours of running between the new agent's office and the consulate. Do they keep you waiting just because they can? It seems so!! Most nutty souls going to Angola are there on business - nobody would want to pay such extortionist fees to go on holiday to a country with such attitude.
The Schengen visa is normally quite painless but next year I think South America must be on my bucket list - no Visa fees required!!
Isn't travel fun????

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