Sat, 11/07/2009 - 19:40
Lobna Antar is the latest person to be added to the Egyptian version of the Guinness World Records, the Jenius Book of Shabab Shotar. Her achievement? Getting a visa to travel in as little as six months.
Envious Egyptians everywhere want to know how Ms. Antar managed to beat the previous record for getting a visa, which was at 2.5 seconds – a misleading figure because, until Antar came along, that section of the Book only took into account the fastest rejection for a visa application. The 2.5 seconds record holder had naively entered the American Embassy while greeting the marine at the gate with alsalamu alaykum.
Now somewhat of a celebrity, Antar spoke exclusively with EKT. “It was really very simple,” boasted Ms. Antar, showing off her highly-prized dark green Egyptian passport, “I just made sure I gave in all the required documents, and naturally had an affair with the ambassador’s driver, who put in a good word for me.” Lobna Antar added with a wink: “My first name rhymes with the Arabic word for lioness after all!”
Sadly for most, having an affair with an ambassador’s employee is the easy part; providing all the required documents is not so simple, and one can see why. Standard applications ask for: bank statements for the past six years, a letter of employment stamped by the foreign affairs ministry, a non-electronic airplane ticket, a hotel booking sent by regular mail, a daily itinerary with expected toilet times, a police background check, a family tree, bra size, a DNA test, a stool sample, a letter of consent from the bawab, even a sketch of one’s favorite sex position (a requisite of some conservative countries where more acrobatic positions are frowned upon).
“It is a long list, I know,” says Antar, adding reassuringly, “but you also need to pick your travel destination wisely. Forget Europe, North America, Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, India, Sri Lanka, Russia and South America. Don’t be too picky! Burkina Faso is a good starting point for beginners – they don’t even ask for a hotel booking as there aren’t any hotels there aslan.”
Other tips Ms. Antar mentioned was to always bring a foldable chair, a backgammon board and a tent, as embassies can often ask applicants to arrive at their gateways four days before allowing them to enter – a clever test to easily identify and blacklist Egyptians that fail to hold a queue, and also to confirm they want the visa badly enough.
Finally, Ms. Antar suggests to never take no for an answer from any embassy: “That’s how my ex-husband finally got me to marry him,” she whispered to EKT.