Incompetence at German embassy in Tbilisi (updated)

Taya and Lasha from Nemein Georgia were coming to Helsinki to attend some Midgard training and the MgdSchema Workshop this week. As Finland has no representation in the country, they applied for schengen visas in the German embassy.

As planned, they flew to Moscow to take their connecting flight to Helsinki, but were refused to board. The reason, as it turned out was that the German embassy had made a mistake with their visas, marking them for March instead of April. So instead of getting to the Midgard events here, they must wait in transit for another day to get a flight back to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.

I can only imagine the frustration and inconvenience of getting turned back from the plane. This trip had been in planning since early winter, and we had all waited eagerly for it. I feel really sorry for them.

Taya writes:

we had very lots of troubles here in moscow, but finaly we changed ticket to tbilisi and get another russian visa (to stay one more day here in moscow till next flight to tbilisi, very awful and terrible situation. noone wanted to help us.

When I heard of the problem I immediately checked the visa invitations we’d sent to the embassy, and they had the correct date for April (underlined):

Invitation letter to Taya

So the mistake indeed was at the German end. I wonder how the embassy will compensate Taya and Lasha for their troubles, and all the accumulated travel costs. The best course might be to sue the German foreign ministry.

It is really a shame that the Germans handled this so incompetently, especially as it comes on heels of a recent deportation of 52 Georgians that the Finnish frontier guard ran in a very degrading manner.

Update 18:41 UTC: As a last ditch effort, I called the “emergency line” of Finnish embassy in Moscow, and the helpful lady there arranged it so that Taya and Lasha can get new Finnish visas tomorrow morning. If this works out, the German mistake only delayed them for one day, and they can get to Helsinki tomorrow afternoon. We can only hope…

Update 2005-04-11 11:48 UTC: I just got a message from Taya that the Finnish embassy indeed delivered what they promised, and that they’ll arrive today. Cool!

YES! we have visas and in several hours we will fly to helsinki

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