Monk Without Visa Denied Entry

August 19, 2005

TIBETAN Lama Khyimsar Rinpoche was not awarded a visa before his scheduled visit for a circuit of speeches Aug. 16- 29. He was not rejected by an overzealous interpretation of immigration law, as some suspected – instead, his visa request was not given enough processing time.The monk is from India, one of the countries on Immigration’s list of most restricted countries that require a visa and authorization from the director of Immigration to enter. The paperwork usually takes two months and requires personal and identity information, exact dates of entry and exit, proof of what the visitor will be up to while here, a departure plane ticket in hand and a deposit with Immigration that would cover the cost of a plane ticket back to the country that issued the visitor’s passport.Lama Khyimsar has lived in England for a decade, the organizer of his visit, Elinore Detiger, told The Tico Times. He was on a speaking tour of the United States before his scheduled trip to Costa Rica, and was denied a visa at the Costa Rican consulate in Los Angeles last week when one of the letters of invitation to speak at one of the two universities on his itinerary did not arrive on time, Detiger said.Immigration had no record of his name and could not comment on the specific case, but a spokeswoman said India has been in Category IV, the most restricted, for at least eight years.An immigration council determines the placements of countries in the category system, spokeswoman Heidy Bonilla told The Tico Times. It makes its decisions based on current events and diplomacy.

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