I am an Iranian PhD student at Takemura Lab, Informedia Education Division, Cybermedia Center, Osaka University, Japan. Together with my co-presenter, who is also an Iranian PhD student at the same lab, we submitted two abstracts to the EUROCALL 2017 conference, Southampton, UK, 23-26 August, to present the results of our joint PhD project. Both of our submissions got accepted, titled “Designing and Developing a Blended Course: Best Practices for Japanese Learners” and “Learning by Design: Bringing Poster Carousels to Life through Augmented Reality in a Blended English Course”.
We then applied for the UK visa on May 25th, 2017, and we both got rejected. It is worth mentioning that we submitted a confirmation of invitation letter from the conference chair, Kate Borthwick, confirming that we have been invited to present our Research and Development papers at the EUROCALL 2017 conference. Our supervisor, Prof. Haruo Takemura, also wrote a letter and guaranteed that all the travel expenses to attend the conference are covered by Osaka University.
We applied again on July 11th, 2017, and provided stronger documents. We added the names of some of our British friends in the application form, and one of them wrote a recommendation letter for us. We wrote exactly the same reason for our travel:
“This conference presentation is part of the requirements for the completion of my PhD course at Osaka University. I will publish two papers in the conference proceedings, one with my name as the first author, then I will be able to defend my PhD.”
Our documents were the same to a large extent except for my marriage certificate, our bank transactions, and the head-covering in my photo. I had worked part time at a university as an English instructor and I had received about 180,000 yen (1200 GBP) monthly from April 2017. Our scholarship (148,000 yen, 1000 GBP) is fixed, and I wrote in the application form that I had worked part-time and provided a copy of my contract in English. My co-presenter was issued the visa this time, and I got rejected again. This is the reason which has been written in the “Refusal of Entry Clearance” letter:
“While I acknowledge that you have been invited to present a paper at the EUROCALL 2017 conference the evidence you have provided does not explain why it is needed for you to complete your PhD at Osaka University.”
I applied for the third time on August 2nd, 2017. I submitted an extra letter I received from one of the coordinators of the EUROCALL Special Interest Groups (SIG), Mirjam Hauck, in support of my application for a visa to enter the UK so that I can be elected into my new role, secretary of the EUROCALL Graduate Student SIG, during the meeting on August 24th in Southampton.
I got rejected for the third time, and here is part of the reason which has been written in the “Refusal of Entry Clearance” letter:
“You have not provided any documents to show attending Eurocall is essential to completing your PhD at Osaka University.”
I believe that the visa application process was subjective and therefore unfair.
Here is the link to my blog post where I recorded my visa story in detail: