We received an inquiry from one of our clients the other day. Lets call him Ken for privacy sake
As usual we successfully processed a DRC 6 months multiple entry visa for Ken that was issued out mid December 2013 and valid until June 2014
Unfortunately Ken was held up then only managed to travel to DR Congo this month – March which is about three months after the issuance of the visa.
Upon entry immigration officials told Ken that the visa is not valid any more due to the fact that he had entered 3 months after issue date of visa which was December 2013. He ended up paying $100 penalty as according to customs official, ‘the attached visa had expired.’
(According to DRC visa information provided it states that Validity:3 months from date of issue)
The Customs officials further told Ken that they would not be able to use this visa any more as according to them it had expired even though the stamp says it should be valid until June.
This sort of a situation can happen to anyone and when you are in it it’s hard to tell who’s wrong or right because as the traveler you feel out of your depth, when denied access over such a reason. Ken actually traveled one day before the ‘alleged 3 month validity expiry’ but because he desperately needed to enter this country he was rendered helpless and to some extent he may even have felt that this was just a corrupt official trying to get a few dollars out of him.Nobody really knows.
Unfortunately in this situation the visa sticker/stamp does not show this condition but more often than not other visas do highlight this….so next time you get a visa, thoroughly check it and even ask us about this condition if your initial travel plans change.VM