My visa is also got rejected. So I am not coming to Canada this year. I think Canada is a bad place for Wikimania due to their strict rules. And thinking that is not a tourist friendly country. 

On 22-Jun-2017 8:59 PM, "Ivan Martínez" <> wrote:
Following the Stuart's commentary, for Mexico City the low rate of rejection was not for free. I supposed my country was a friendly destination because their history welcoming people from all over the world until I was involved in the visa process for many wikimedians who faced different kind of issues. So I was engaged with WMF's staff to provide any evidence and documents to make fast responses to reduce the chances of rejection. Among the issues we had:

- A really annoying insistence of the consular authorities of Mexico rejecting documents in digital copies. We had to send many hard copies via express mail services
- Consular officers insisted on proving in some way that the Wikimedia Foundation has funds against possible contingencies of the attendees. This was mainly because many of the officials who received the documents did not know anyything about Wikipedia and its fame. I remember me talking on conventional telephone several times from Mexico City to New Delhi to give more information.
- Lack of Mexican embassies in all the attendees countries, so some people needs to travel to other country to the nearest embassy to get visa, so, chances of fail getting documents and doing procedures in other country which is not yours is risky.

In any case, having prior time is the only antidote. Some situations can be solved, but with anticipated time. Rules are rules and in consular proceedings much more no matter the country where the event will held and this is not really attributable to the people who are working supporting the process doing their best.

2017-06-22 9:34 GMT-05:00 Nkansah Rexford <>:
In addition, providing this *true assistance* won't be for *all* attendees. In many cases, only a select few of the total attendees will have the visa-related issues. 

Thus, say out of 100 applicants, just less than 20 individuals might need the assistance beyond the letter at their local embassies. And over and over again, we know these countries that yearly present visa troubles for applicants.

And since it can be relatively easier for individuals with relatively high travel history to get visas, the actual people who might need this dedicated assistance can drop further.


On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Nkansah Rexford <> wrote:
Well, the goal won't be to *influence* or whatnot. That isn't gonna work. The goal is to provide extra details and answer questions that might come up. 

Some systems aren't entirely closed. From the outside, it looks closed, but a closer look reveals there's the option for recognized organizations (keyword is "recognized") to stretch a hand.

Not all embassies in varied countries run the same. But the question is, has there been any attempt (stunt) of that sort pulled off ever?

And after spending a load ton of effort in organizing, if the invitees don't get to come, does that not bring us to where we began?

It ain't an easy or going to be an easy task. However, trying to dodge that also opens the opportunity for rejections easily. 

Of course, it feels like a lottery. However, if there's anything one could do to tip the chances of 'winning' the lottery a bit to the bright side, won't that be a worthwhile effort, no matter how hard?


On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Stuart Prior <> wrote:
Lodewijk, AFAIK we've never kept track of rejections, but I could find out. My gut feeling is that there hasn't been a massive variation over the past 4 years, I think Mexico City was the most open to everybody (?)

Rexford, possibly (and yeah Wiki = Wikileaks is *always* a problem lol). But some visa systems are very closed and bureaucratic and it's hard to bring any influence or assistance to bear beyond supporting documentation, i.e you can't even talk to a human being about it.

To *truly assist* some of it would involve building political contacts beforehand to advocate for visas (i.e your local representative can help sometimes), that's a possibility but may create other problems, capacity for a start.
The logistics of organising travel/accomm for hundreds of people from hundreds of locations is already onerous, adding an intensive visa support process into that it when some visa systems feel like a lottery would be easy to overpromise and underdeliver. 

What strikes me here is that visas are a problem for people from our developing communities, but they are one of many factors in deciding a Wikimania location. 
One country that might be visa-friendly to one, is prohibitively expensive to get to/stay in for another. 
So while Australia might be relaxed in terms of visas (I'm not confident of this btw) it's also objectively remote/expensive.

Whether a location has achieved that balance is always a question, and I can't think of one Wikimania where everyone's agreed it has ;-)


On 22 June 2017 at 12:12, Nkansah Rexford <> wrote:
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 


PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <> wrote:


The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,

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Iván Martínez
Presidente - Wikimedia México A.C.

// Mis comunicaciones respecto a Wikipedia/Wikimedia pueden tener una moratoria en su atención debido a que es un voluntariado.
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