Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 1, No 12
13 September 1999

R E A D E R   R E S P O N S E:
"Keep Out" Sign Hangs on Poland's Door, Too

Anil Kumawat

Dear Editor,

This is in response to Jan Culik's article, "UK: Central Europeans Keep Out!" which appeared in Central Europe Review, 30 August 1999, and discussed the adoption of a "Central Europeans stay out" policy. I would like to narrate a similar incident which happened with me recently at the Polish Embassy in Prague.

I am an Indian citizen with a business permit in the Czech Republic. I was recently required, for the first time, to travel to Poland for business purposes. Upon inquiring about visa requirements, I was told that nothing in particular is required and that I would simply need to come to the embassy and fill out a form. The embassy would then process the form in ten days, after which time they would decide whether or not to give me the visa.

I did as they said and took along all the documents which I felt would be required. I have applied and received visas for other Western countries, so I brought along the same documentation which these other countries required. The Polish embassy did not even bother to have a printed list of requirements. When I submitted the form along with my documents, the documents were refused.

After ten days, I was told that I was not eligible for the visa. Upon inquiring why, I was given a curt reply that they were not required to tell me the grounds for refusal. I spoke to the Consul General, and she hinted that perhaps I had not given enough supporting documentary proof.

At that point, I felt like a school kid who had failed to satisfy his teacher with his project and hence received a failing grade. Or was I deliberately led into trap by the embassy staff so as to be disqualified just because of my origins and colour?

Anil Kumawat, 1 September 1999, Prague, Czech Republic



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