Your visa is invalid

“Your visa is invalid,” said the immigration agent in Kinshasa when we arrived. “You see this place here where the date was written over? That writing over another number makes the visa invalid.”

Close-up of Visa Date

Close-up of Visa Date

“How can this be?” I reasoned. “I just received the visa in April. You can see the date of my wife’s visa, it is the same as mine. No one tried to change anything.”
“They shouldn’t have written over the number,” responded the agent.
“But it was your embassy in Washington DC that did this. Your embassy. It was alright for them,” I argued.
“It is invalid. There should not be any write-overs on the visa,” the agent responded.

At this point I realized that they were NOT going to accept my visa no matter what argument I gave them. So I asked, “What can I do now to enter the country?”
After consulting with her superior the agent explained, “We will cancel your visa and give you a free 7 day visa to enter the country. Then you have to go right away to the immigration office in Kinshasa and get a visa.”
“OK, but this will cost me,” I responded. She returned a blank face and shrugged her shoulders.

She proceeded to cancel my visa and issue the temporary one. As we had arrived around noon, there was plenty of time to stop at immigration in town and start the process for the new visa. The agent explained that he could do a simple extension of my temporary visa for the fee of $250.00 plus $10 for the form and $100 processing fee. Yes indeed. We also asked if he could expedite the process so that I could receive the passport and visa the next day, Tuesday, as we were traveling to Gemena Wed AM. He said that he’d see. I paid the money plus an expediting fee and we went on.

Cancelled Visa :-(

Cancelled Visa 🙁

Of course Tuesday, the visa was not ready so I paid another $100 for immigration to give me a document that took the place of my passport and would allow me to travel.

When I explained what happened to the agent at the immigration office in town, he was surprised. He looked at the visa and said that it was clearly valid. Since then I’ve also explained what happened to the document-service we use who in turn showed the visa to the Congo embassy in DC. The embassy visa agent in DC said the visa was valid and there was no problem. The document-service told me that they check each new visa for errors which show up and they then have them corrected. In this case I was told that no one would have seen that there could be a problem with the visa. Unfortunately I couldn’t have any of these people talk to the Kinshasa immigration who refused to accept my visa when I arrived at the airport.

In the end, I’m left with the fact that my visa was not accepted. It was then cancelled and I had to spend an additional $460 for a new visa. I didn’t do anything wrong, they claimed that someone else did, but I end up paying. So we say, Africa Wins again.

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2 Responses to “Your visa is invalid”

  1. Joan Wolford says:

    So sorry. Pray the rest of the journey improves. I will send some $ to help defray your cost

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  2. Daniel SESAY says:

    So sorry. As you know quite well, these things frustrate even us as Africans. May God continue to give you grace and protection in all you do.


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