Our Readers' Opinions
July 9, 2004
Apply for visas before travelling!

Editor: Re: Visas – I wish to again emphasise the importance of obtaining the necessary visas for entry to various countries in Europe and other destinations.
Application for visas should be made in sufficient time before the date of travel. There is really no advantage in waiting until the last moment. The policy of foreign embassies in London is that a visitor must obtain his/her visa from the foreign embassy in the region in which the intended visitor resides. {{more}}
On a few occasions the mission has succeeded in obtaining visas in exceptional circumstances for persons who have arrived without visas. However, due to heightened security concerns, embassies in the UK have made it clear that they will not issue visas to persons who are not resident in the UK.
In addition, most visa departments open either in the morning or the afternoon; some only accept a limited number of applications on any particular day; and many visa departments require at least 24 hours to process applications. To complicate matters, the mission is usually unable to speak directly to anyone in the visa department since instructions for obtaining the visa are given through a recording system and the applicant is required to personally attend the visa office.
I therefore wish to advise all nationals who intend to travel to Europe and other countries via London to please obtain the required visas before departing Saint Vincent and the Grenadines or they will certainly be disappointed. The airlines in the UK will not allow a visitor to board the aircraft if the passenger does not have the necessary visa.

Cenio E. Lewis
High Commissioner
High Commission for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, London