If you travel a lot and visit exotic countries, you have to apply for a visa. The following items must be brought to the consulate or embassy of the country you would like to visit:
- 1 x passport (valid for at least 6 months)
- 1 x completed visa application
- 2 x passport photo
- if necessary, health certificate or vaccination card
- appropriate powers of attorney when applying for visas on behalf of accompanying persons.
It does not matter whether you order a visa in Berlin or Lagos. The procedure is almost always the same. However, the way you get to the documents is not always the same.
As someone with a lot of experience in traveling and dealing with consulates and embassies, I was selected in the 90s to apply for visas for myself and my small travel group at the embassy of Cameroon in Lagos/Nigeria. This usually takes 24 hours, provided you have completed and signed all the documents as described above. Well prepared I made my way from Kano, a city in the north of the country, to the then more than 1000 km away located capital Lagos. I had thought of everything and checked twice, because a return without visas would have completely exceeded our travel budget and the time frame.
Assuming I had not forgotten anything, I filled out the documents at the embassy, handed in the passports and passport photographs and waited for confirmation that I could collect all the documents on the following day, when an embassy employee approached me and announced that I had only handed in one passport photograph for each application, but that two passport photographs were absolutely necessary.
That was expensive good advice. For me it was no problem to organize another passport photo, since I could always go to a photographer to make another one, but what about the others from my small travel group? They were 1000 km away and we are talking about the 90s, there were no e-mails yet, let alone “just scan them and that’s it”. With a heavy heart I had to leave the embassy to find a solution. And as I step outside the door, I see the man shown above with his camera. Shortly decided I went to him and asked him politely if he would be able to photograph a picture from the passport in such a way that he could make a new passport photo out of it. As you can see from the picture above, he could.
And I actually returned to Kano after 24 hours with three valid visas.