Ok, so Andy, Wim, Thomas and myself pooled our resources to pay for Zeeshan flying in from Pakistan so he could attend GUADEC in Stuttgart. Zeeshan have never been outside Pakistan so we thought it would be a cool experience for him and a thank you from us for his contributions to GStreamer over the last few years. So far so good. So I ask him to check locally if there will be no visa problems, which he do and report back that he checked locally and it should be no problem. So we buy an airplane ticket for him and send a letter saying we will take care of his expenses while at GUADEC. Tim Ney sends a letter on behalf of GNOME Foundation saying he is asked to come on special invitation of GNOME. The local Stuttgart government which is co-hosting GUADEC also sends a letter stating that he is an invited guest to GUADEC.
Then the run-around treatment starts. As Zeeshan lives in Karachi he is in touch with the German consulate in Karachi.
After calling them and being told he can come in to file his application he arrives there only to be told that he have to come back some other time as you only get in if you come early in the morning and get a ticket for the day in question.
So he comes back a few days later early in the morning and is let in. Then they tell him that they can’t accept his papers as they need to have those letters faxed to them directly. It turns out their fax machine doesn’t work most of the time, so in the end I fedex the letter to them. The Stuttgart representive have more luck than me and faxes it down, and also calls them on the phone.
After this he once again goes to the consulate, this time he is told that they can’t accept his application as he is not a native of Karachi, so he have to go to the embassy in Islambad instead to file his application.
Going to Islambad costs Zeeshan quite some money considering his local salary, but he takes a day of work and goes there on a Sunday so he can go to the embassy when it opens on Monday. Everyone involved also re-fax our letters to the German embassy for this. So on Monday after having called ahead and booked a timeslot he goes to the embassy. There they tell him that he can’t apply for the visitors visa, instead he needs to register for a business visa. The documentation needs for that is different from the visitors visa so his current documentation doesn’t allow him to apply.
So now he is back in Karachi, with limited resources in terms of being able to travel back to Islamabad again. Due to limit time they didn’t have time to explain what he needed, only to give an URL to a website with information.
This website turns out to be inaccessibile from outside Pakistan.
All hope is not out, but now we need to figure out how to sort out the new needed paperwork, how I can transfer him some money to help with a new trip to Islambad and hopefully manage to get that all done before GUADEC happens at the end of the month.
Considering we started on this process in March I am quite frustrated atm. Feels like we are chasing moving target with the consulate and now embassy coming up with new demands for every step of the way.