The Heartache of Visa Refusal
By Owen Jones
It is a very stressful event for a foreigner to apply for a visa. I don't mean
the entry stamp at border control, that is usually a foregone conclusion, although many travellers find
that bad enough. I mean applying for a visa at an embassy before departing for that country and especially if
that country is on the other side of the world, where you possibly have a job or a spouse waiting.
This article is about the heartache of visa refusal and what you can do about it. My wife is Thai and I am
British and my wife has been refused a visa to the UK twice in eight years. She has also been granted three UK visa
over the same period.
The first time she was refused was really awful. My wife was so upset that she didn't stop crying for twelve
hours. She kept repeating over and over again "The British people don't want me to go there. Why? Why?"
It is easy to sat that that was a na?ve response because the 'British people' had no say in the matter, but that
was how she thought and it was very real to her and acutely embarrassing for her. When I looked at the reasons for
the refusal, they were petty. Whoever refused her entry for them should have been sacked. The reasons given
1] has never been out of the country before
2] lied about how long she has known the sponsor
If reason 1] were applied every day, no-one could ever go abroad - EVER and the simple explanation for 2] was
that she could not remember the word for July (the month we met) so I told her to remember month number seven. When
they asked her how long she had known me she answered 'seven months' in her nervousness. She should have said since
the seventh month, July.
Big deal! I was ashamed of my country for applying such petty, stupid rules like this to bar someone from the
UK. What sort of a reputation do they think that that gives us abroad? Tough or petty? And another thing, you
cannot complain, because no-one has the guts to sign anything - it is all done anonymously.
The second refusal was a few weeks ago. I need to go home as a matter of urgency, which did not help my wife's
nerves. She left my bank statements behind which proved how much money I have in the bank. The embassy told her in
the unsigned refusal letter that they were 'not satisfied that you are able to meet the costs of your journey or
that you will be adequately maintained and accommodated in the UK".
Let's look at that sentence carefully. If 'you are [not] able to meet the costs of your journey' then she can't
get to the UK and the rest becomes irrelevant, surely? And my mother had provided a letter offering free
accommodation, so the embassy was telling my wife that my mother and I are liars and not to be trusted! Who gave
them the right to cast aspersions like that?
Anyway, we reapplied and we made sure she had everything before she went into the application centre. OK, you
can say that we should have done that the first time and you can say that she should have been refused and I can't
argue with you, but calling me and my mother untrustworthy liars is way beyond the pale.
The fact is that the agency that checked the paperwork should have advised her that she had no chance of a visa
without the bank statements, but they get paid per application, so they prefer everyone to fail at least once in
order to double their money. A friend's wife was refused four times before being successful!
Copied from 'Behind The Smile' http://behind-the-smile.org with kind permission.