Bunch of emails find its way in my inbox daily asking how I manage to get my travel visas to embark on my globetrotting.
It’s grueling acquiring visas from our part of the world and has cost many huge sums of monies just to witness visa repudiation. It is estimated that, about $200,000 is wasted daily in Ghana on non-refundable visa fees. It’s this same money that is given to us back as an aid.
Before I come out with my secrets in getting all the travel visas for my trips, let me first clear some myths about ‘Visa Contractors’ popularly called ‘Connection men’.
1. There is nothing like ‘connection’ when it comes to Visas acquisition
‘Connection men’ are not connection men as they are known. They do not have any connections to the embassies as they claim. Even employees of the various embassies do not have the capacity to influence a visa decision.
Usually, decisions to issue visas are a sole responsibility of selected consular officers.
2. They do not influence your application positively in any way
In no way can they positively influence the outcome of your application. If you take any promise by a ‘connection’ man seriously, you may end up committing suicide.
Whatever they do is a ‘try your luck’ or 50/50 affair.
3. ‘Connection men’ have no knowledge in travel and tourism business
These so-called ‘connection men’ practically have no knowledge in travel and tourism business. A nurse was advised by a connection man to travel to a foreign country to pursue her nursing profession. Others have been advised that they can get admissions while in a foreign country to further their education. Graduates have been told that jobs are easily acquired with their certificates while in other countries. All these are false advises.
Travel visas have their own restrictions. The visitor/tourist visas you are traveling on do not permit you to carry on any job, school, or even engage in any other paid activities.
4. They are confident charlatans
They are quick to study your desperation or shortfalls and find a smart way to let you fall to their tricks. They usually answer ‘YES’ to all questions.
Accessing how fraudulent a ‘connection man’ is, I deliberately asked one question; “Can I enter the UK with a Schengen visa you are advertising?” and the answer was ‘YES’!
Meanwhile, UK who is planning to leave EU isn’t part of the Schengen treaty.
5. They can risk your chances of getting visas
These men do not have any knowledge in visa acquisition and may complete your application forms with false information that will rather risk your chances of getting visas now and in the future.
Many travel wishers have received bans from various embassies for providing false documents and information in their visa applications. It becomes difficult for you to apply for visa yourself after a connection man works on it. You do not know the exact information he/she gave to the embassy at the time of applying your first application.
Conflicting information equals lies and this usually comes along with a ban.
6. They are only interested in your money
Yes, it’s all about the cash. They will speak beguiling words to rip you off your lifetime savings. Interesting reasons on why advance payment has to be made are always given.
Some travel agencies advertise packages they cannot deliver. They lure travel wishers with radio and TV commercials to pay some amount (usually around 100 to 300usd) to register their interest in a package. Because this registration amount sounds a penny to a travel wisher, thousands of people rush in to make payment. Be informed that they are only interested in these initial payments.
When Ghana was playing against England in the UK in 2011, some agencies made fortunes out of it. Thousands of people rushed to make deposits in a bid to witness the international friendly match. A particular agency recorded over 10,000 registrations of £100 each – and that amount to a whooping £1m.
You will be shocked to know that I was at Wembley during the match and both seats on my left and right were empty. So many seats were empty.
Tickets meant for people who paid £100 to register their interest were sold about three times the price prior to kick off.
7. They need visas themselves
Some of these ‘connection men’ do not even have passports and they are interested in traveling themselves but have no means or little knowledge as to how to obtain visas. This is not an advice to pay people with travel experiences to assist you with travel visas. The fact that they travel to and fro in a country as many times they wish do not mean they could influence your visa application in any way.
A popular ‘connection man’ who was heard on radio everywhere advertising UK visas was seen going through his own NOTICE OF IMMIGRATION DECISION, popular known as ‘Refusal Letter’.
8. The embassies do not give accreditation to ‘connection men’ or travel agencies
Most at times, you hear on radio that a travel agency has been accredited by an embassy to send people to participate in or witness a particular event. Some of these adverts are false information they are sending out there just to put you on your heels to give them cash.
If they claim they have been accredited to send people on a particular mission, call the embassy to authenticate this. I bet they will smile and answer a big NO.
9. You could end up in jail
The very day you hand your travel life into the hands of a ‘connection man’, see yourself as a wanted criminal. Many are serving jail terms and others have suffered in the hands of the police and the judiciary service.
‘Connection men’ usually make up their applications with fake documents and information which warrant an arrest.
They are selfish and only interested in their monies and not your travel. When they are able to manoeuvre their way through with the fake documents, which is not likely, they make huge money forgetting about the problems you would go through if they fail.
10. Loss of documents
Consider your documents lost because as he/she plays hide and seek with you, it’s likely he won’t be able to hand over your documents to you. Some ‘visa contractors’ handle so many documents and easily misplace some of them. As you have been hearing and reading in the media, it’s quiet expensive and difficult to obtain a Ghanaian passport. Handle them with much care.
*In my next article, I will talk about what you can do if you have suffered in one way or the other in the hands of these ‘connection men’. I’ll also write about how you can obtain all the travel visas you need on your own.
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