Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bureaucracy and visas

One of the problems M had when trying to get into Doha was obtaining a visa. Since she was a Thai citizen residing in the US she tried getting one from the Qatari embassy in Washington DC.

Response: You have to be a US citizen. Please go to Thailand to get a visa.

Given that our flight was from the US to Thailand via Doha with a couple of days stop in Doha this was out of the question.

After some hemming and hawing she was finally issued a visa - single entry. We’d have to get another one from Thailand on our way back or perhaps the hotel in Doha could help.

Staff at Hyatt Doha was very gracious in trying to secure a visa - access denied.
Tried again Bangkok - access denied.
No reason was given which is customary. We had to detour to Bahrain instead.

Given that it was Ramadan, maybe someone was just extremely grouchy.
As a note, the Economist reports:

.. it [Arab countries] employs twice as many bureaucrats per head as the global average

But is this really a numbers problem?

A relative of M’s who was studying in England was planning to visit Europe this summer. She tried to get a Schengen visa from the German embassy in London.

Response: You are a Thai citizen. Please go to Thailand to get a visa.

Fine. She was going back to Bangkok anyway and then returning to England before school starts and was planning to go around Europe before hand.

Response from German embassy in Bangkok: You are residing in England. Please get your visa from London.


What next - city based visas?

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