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Something i have experienced a lot as an african travelling through Africa is that africans are really interested in visiting western countries like the United Kingdom and the United States. Every time i ask an african what country would they like to visit, 99% of the time, they tell me a western country. The ones i hear the most are the UK and the US. So, the question is: should you ask for a UK/US tourist visa as an african citizen? No, you should not. Are you ready for some tough love? Here we go.

uk visa
UK Visa. Source: Buzz South Africa

Why shouldn’t i ask for a US/UK tourist visa as an african?

Because you probably won’t get it. It depends on which african country you come from but in general, africans are rejected continuosly.

Why will i be rejected?

First of all, because of your passport. If you are from Senegal but have a foreign passport from Switzerland or any other nice country, this message is not for you. The message is for those africans who probably live in their own countries and have an african citizenship. You will be rejected because:

  • Your passport is not strong. Strong passport are those who have visa free countries to many places. For example: Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Germany, UK and France have strong passports. Passports are strong because of the economy and power of that country. If your country is not a rich successful country, it is probably not strong. You can see the passport strength list here.
  • They suspect you really don’t want to go there for tourism, you want to go there to live there. This means, the tourist visa is an excuse to live there illegaly. As they do not want illegal immigrants, it is better for them to reject you. The thing is, this holds a bit of truth because many africans have no interest in tourism. They do not want to spend money just to see a country. And when it comes to the US/UK, it is not an exception. They want to live there but don’t know how to get there so the tourist visa is a bridge between their current life and the improved life.
  • You have no travel history. If you have never travelled outside your country, you have no visas from any country, it is unlikely you will get the visa. Why? Because someone who travels for tourism does not start going to a country that is known for their massive security measures. What i mean is that, if you are from Nigeria and have never travelled anywhere or had a visa, and you think the US or the UK will be the first country you will visit for tourism, you need to think again. They will not give you the visa. If you are really interested in tourism, you would probably start with visa free countries and get some experience. Once you have a couple visas and a couple stamps on your passport, you look better.
  • You got a visa before and overstayed. This one is logical. If you overstay in another country, why wouldn’t you overstay in theirs?
  • Your documents are fake. This is pretty obvious. If you lie, you get rejected.
  • You have no ties to your country. It is important for them to see you have a reason to go back to your country so proving you have a family, a job, studies waiting for you makes a good impression. If you are a 20 year old guy with no studies, no work, no land, no money and no family, you won’t get the visa because you have nothing to lose and young people are more adventurous. They want people who have a commitment back home and would never leave for a long period of time.
  • You are a threat to their country. You either have some ties with some terrorist groups or you have a criminal history.
  • You don’t have money. This one is the mother of reasons. If you have money, you can get anything you want, even UK/US visa. It is such an important requirement. If you come from a rich family or you just randomly have a lot of money in your account, you may get the visa. So, remember, no money, no visa.

How can i get the visa then?

The easiest way is be rich and ask for the visa. Other ways are:

  • Have a bank account with money in it.
  • Have a job.
  • Get a wife/husband/children.
  • Travel to other countries before you apply for their visa. Get some experience travelling and ask for a couple tourist visas.
  • Have enough money in your bank account to pay for your expenses while you stay in the US/UK. You should have a considerable amount of money. 500USD is not enough, you need way more than that to show you can take care of yourself.
  • Visit a family in the US/UK with a letter of invitation.

It is important to remember that a tourist visa may not be for you. If you want to live there, that’s okay, you can. Ask for a student visa or a business visa. These countries are very picky because they worry about illegal immigration so they don’t want anyone that will not contribute to their society in some way or another. The US and the UK do not want a random african with no job, no studies, no money and no skills to come to their country, not even for tourism. You need to be able to provide something of value.

So, please, african brothers and sisters, do not waste your money on US and UK tourist or student visas until you meet these requirements. It is a waste of money and time. If you want to visit places, we have wonderful places in our wonderful continent. Ethiopia is a great place to visit and you won’t have headache from the visa process and you probably will get the visa.

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