Visa Palaver with Dele Adedeji ESQ
This is our first edition of Visa Palaver, where we offer advice and information on this thorny issue of making successful visa applications to visit, study, work or settle in any of the many countries of the world. For many people getting a visa can be likened to going to war and doing battle with an enemy of progress, while to others, it is like a walk in the park, especially where one knows what he or she is doing or more importantly, when one knows how to approach the visa application process in all its different forms.
I am an Immigration Adviser, specialised in UK and EU Immigration law and practice to include visa applications and appeal representation. I have been advising and representing Nigerians here in Nigeria and those in the United Kingdom or any other country in the world since 1994 with a very good success rate. I use my skills and experience to assist where I can, answering questions and providing solutions to thorny immigration experiences.
Over the years, I have been able to offer solutions to persons seeking entry to almost any country because immigration laws and processes are relatively similar for most countries in in the western world.
One question that I get from my people most of the time is: why do I need to use an Immigration Adviser/consultant/lawyer when all the information I need is on the country’s website? Or my relative abroad is helping me and said I should not use a lawyer? My reply is that in almost every endeavour in life, there are some people that need help to get things done and there are a few who can do things on their own.
Answer: Based on my experience and skills, I find that people who use reputable immigration advisers or legal representatives receive a professional service which makes the process of getting a visa go more smoothly when it comes to their own particular situation. The information on the website is usually general, whereas the applicant has many other issues that need a person who knows the law to guide him or her through the process.
- Parents, Uncles and Aunts, Friends and family even though they may live abroad and they mean well in many cases, they do not always provide accurate immigration advice because that is not their calling.
I had a case that I dealt with recently where a Nigerian man who lived in the UK for many years and became a Citizen before returning to Nigeria, whereupon he married two local women by customary marriage and together they had nine children, four from the first wife and five from the second wife. When the youngest child was in her final year of the university in Nigeria aged 28 years old, she approached me in Ajuwon after attending one of my Immigration Seminars and told me that her father lived in the UK in the 70s, he was a British Citizen before he returned to Nigeria but has never gone back to UK since then. I asked to see copies of his passport and British Citizenship and I was able to give the lady the good news that she and her eight siblings were British Citizens by descent from birth. Just Imagine that! Her eldest brother is in his late 40s just finding out that all his life he has had an entitlement to British Citizenship 40+ years ago and he is finding out now.
We have successfully obtained the status for all concerned and they have a life changing experience for them and their children. This is not an isolated case as it happened to my parents too, which is how I came to dedicate my life to immigration advice. That is a story for another day.
Emailed Question: Why is it that when these EU and UK Embassies refuse ones visa application they mark it in the passport which I think is discriminatory to me as a Nigerian Citizen? Is there anything that can be done to stop this practice?
Answer: I am not sure that there is anything that can be done to stop this practice in the first instance. This appears to be the protocol of most Embassies and applies to all persons refused visas not solely toward Nigerians. Even citizens of the United States who apply for visas to enter the UK and whose visas are refused will have the refusal stamped at the back of their passports. This applies where for example the American has a criminal record or a caution, as such a person is unlikely to qualify to enter UK or EU on the usual visa waiver programme and she/he may have to apply for the visa, if refused, such refusal will be recorded in the person’s passport.
Emailed Question: What can I do to strengthen my chance of getting a visitor’s visa? I work in one of the top banks in Nigeria for the past 5 years, I am a 36 years old man, engaged to be married in October 2019, I earn in excess of 2 million Naira per annum with savings of around 1.5million Naira. I live in a self-contained apartment; I have never travelled outside West Africa. I want to visit UK, US or Canada. How do I get an invitation letter and what documents do I need?
Answer: That is a loaded question and a typical one that I get regularly. With your presenting circumstances, with the right information and plan, you can fund and support a visa application to any of your three country choices without an invitation letter from anyone. You can self-finance your trip from funds available to you and you can apply for a visa as a tourist. You will have to show a plan on how you intend to fund the cost of the travel, where you will stay abroad, feeding and maintenance for the duration of the visit. You have not indicated how much time you intend to spend abroad, or whether you plan on staying with a friend or family member. However assuming you will not be staying with anyone, I will use the UK immigration rules as a sample as they apply to the other two countries in that you will have to prove that you will leave at the end of your visit, fund the trip and stay and obey their respective immigration laws.
The general rules are that you will not spend more than the maximum time allowed by the visa; you will intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit; you must be a genuine visitor, fund the cost of your return ticket as well as your maintenance and accommodation for the duration of your visit. You must not intend to work or do business during your holiday.
Of all these rules, the intention to leave at the end of the visit appears to be the most difficult one to satisfy. While you appear to have strong points in that you are settled in a good job of about 5 years, have an intention to settle into married life soon, I would need to see your documentation and regular finances in order to make a better assessment of the prospective application and how to plan what you will do while on holiday. For example is the cash flow and savings made over a number of months or has there been a sudden injection of funds into the bank account, which would give the impression that the applicant is being dishonest in the eyes of the visa officer assessing the visa application. These are just a few examples of the complexities that advisers deal with in making sure the client’s application is successful. We can look at more details in next week’s column after you provide me with more information. I welcome questions and queries, in my experience for every one question asked this usually represents at least 1000 other people who have the same issue and are seeking a similar answer
My next Seminar Series: You can also attend my up-coming Workshop & Seminar on Visitors Visa: Preparing a successful visit visa application” taking place on 30 August 2019 and you can visit my website seminar section of www.daalted.com for full details of this and other activities we have and to register your interest. Registration allows us to plan for numbers attending. This workshop allows attendees to obtain more specific details tailored to individual circumstances as we answer all questions and provide information on genuine means of financing trips, how to plan for
your trip and how to satisfy the relevant rules for the visa application to the country of your choice.
All questions, comments and feedback should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The advice offered in this column is intended for informational and educational purposes only and does not replace professional legal advice. I do not guarantee that any particular question will be responded to and I reserve the right to edit questions for length and clarity.