Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Passport Index 2016 (passportindex.org)
342 points by dominotw on July 17, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 238 comments

I had citizenship of one most repressive and poor countries in the world - Uzbekistan. Later I obtained Russian citizenship. Now, I'm living in the Netherlands and plan to obtain citizenship of some first world country (NL, SG etc).

So I have first hand experience to live with Uzbek passport and being practically completely isolated from the first world (nobody give you EU tourist visa if you have Uzbek passport and you are not "special" person).

Now, I have Russian passport, it's a bit easier but I'm still struggling to get even tourist US visa (I was refused twice).

Changing passport is very long and painful process. It can significantly change your course of life (like in my case).

I've often thought of the dollar value of my US passport (/citizenship). It would definitely be my most valuable asset (then again, taxes are by far my biggest expense). Besides almost unrestricted travel - my income is far higher in the US than it would be in any other country I've looked at.

It's easy to forget how lucky those of us in the developed world are and how so many try so hard to gain status here.

Good luck on your journey, and I hope someday you're able to get the US tourist visa to experience the joys of the US: Yosemite, NYC, Disney World and Taco Bell.

Warren Buffett describes being born in the USA as having won "the ovarian lottery" which sounds about right, as you've described it.

[0]: http://www.businessinsider.com/warren-buffett-on-the-ovarian...

I know quite a few Australians/Kiwis who are able to obtain their British passports. Honestly I think that's worth way more than a US citizenship. They can work and live in any country in the EU, Australia and New Zealand, without a work visa (well for two more years anyway :-P).

I have dual Australia/New Zealand citizenship, and even that alone is well worth it. Brazil, for example, allows New Zealand passport holders to enter visa-free, but not Australians!


There's not really that much difference between AU and NZ, though it is weird to see that PNG requires a visa for AU, given that AU gives PNG a chunk of aid money.

You're right, there isn't, at least not in this nicely quantified way. Anecdotally, I've been treated much nicer on my NZ passport than my Australian one, even to the same countries (especially France, which I found curious).

Other Kiwis I know have reported receiving great treatment in France. Some have pointed out that they still feel a bit guilty about this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior

> They can work and live in any country in the EU

Brexit might well see to that one though. And working in Australia visa free isn't all sunshine and roses, you have to pay full Australian taxes, but get none of the benefits of being an Australian resident or citizen.

Well, a US passport isn't all sunshine and roses either. The only country I know that taxes its citizens living abroad.

Indeed, quite a few US citizens abroad cancel their US citizenship due to IRS tax problems.

Denmark does as well, to a high degree

As opposed to the US, Denmark does not impose global tax on citizen who are not considered residents or have a home available to them there.

There have however been quite a few high profile cases of whether you are considered a resident of Denmark or not, after leaving Denmark -- something that has hit a golf player, a model and apparently 100 others whose cases were handled internally by the tax authorities.

In a blink of an eye, you can become a tax evader and essentially lose everything you've earned plus be sentenced to years in prison... unless you're the husband of the prime minister (who worked in Switzerland, paid no tax in Denmark yet essentially lived here).

So if you're leaving Denmark for Silicon Valley to run your startup, get legal help to ensure you won't suddenly get taxed for all your US-earned income because your left your wife/girlfriend in Denmark, visited her and say, answered a few emails or spent some money.

> but get none of the benefits of being an Australian resident or citizen.

What, are you barred from going to the beach? :)

Paying full host country taxes isn't a problem unless you're also paying home country taxes.

Which is only and issue if you are American.

The US has tax treaties with most countries to avoid dual taxation. You still have to file a return, but except in rare circumstances, you will never have to pay double taxes to both host country and home country.

But it is a ball ache, not only for the ex pat but also for the banks that deal with them, so much so that there are many reports of banks refusing US citizens accounts and closing ones they do have. There may be no double taxation occurring but there is administration involved in the part of everyone involved. Essentially a ridiculous cost forced on all parties by the US govt.

They also don't have tax obligations for income earned abroad.

Isn't that what most people think about their country? I think it's choice-supportive bias. I could be living in the US, but I think Greece is a better country, and I'm sure you think the opposite.

No, I think it can be objectively evaluated.

I was born as an American citizen, but would probably prefer to be German (social benefits, EU access, etc.) or Emirati (a fantastic gravy train).

What, not Norwegian? They have the highest quality of life. Why not Nigerian? They have the highest life satisfaction rates!

There's literally a saying in Finnish to that effect, translated "It's a lottery jackpot to be born in Finland". People often use it ironically, but they really shouldn't be complaining.

This is why I think the European Union should be more like an actual union. You should be able to subscribe to it, and your membership would grant you a passport, rights and duties. It would solve the whole Brexit issue, because everyone who wanted to remain a member could do so. It wouldn't even be that expensive - we pay about £185/year each at the moment to be in the EU (£13bn/70m people).

Edit: Obviously this is not a fully worked out idea. What I find disappointing is that no one in the news ever even talks about alternatives, even narrow alternatives.

I'm sorry, but that doesn't work. Membership of the EU (or at least the common market) needs common laws to work, and these only work at the national level, not at the personal level...

It's not just work and travel, what about all the taxes, consumer protection laws etc.

How would selling goods be like? An "EU-supermarket" next to the regular one where you have to show your membership to be able to buy?

Very interesting idea... Maybe some set of alternative services for EU subscribers.

There are a few issues with this idea.

First, you say that it wouldn't be that expensive at £185/year, but that's the price when you're also offering rights to others in the Union to live and work in your country and giving access to your market to the rest of the Union's goods. The £185/year would barely scratch the surface.

Second, who would the cash come from and go to? Presumably, it would be from individual Britons. Would it go to the rest of Europe? £185/year would be very cheap to gain access to the right to live and work in Europe. In fact, countries do sell citizenships, but for a lot more than that. I believe Malta is the easiest way to buy yourself EU citizenship and requires a gift of €650,000 to the government, €150,000 parked in government bonds for 5 years (probably earning next to nothing), and buying at least €350,000 in property (and holding it for at least 5 years).

Third, if you could cheaply buy the right to live and work in the EU, why would any country stay? Let me explain the scenario. If I'm a member country of the EU, I must open my borders to other EU countries, but in exchange those countries are open to me. Why wouldn't I want to simply leave and then let the minority of those in my country that want access to the rest to pay a tiny fee? In fact, if that fee is the same that I'm paying for all my citizens currently, the government could even pay it for those that want it and save loads of money. In this scenario, everyone leaves the Union because it's cheaper to just buy the right for the small few that want it. If only 1% of your population actually wants to exercise that right in a given year, you could cut your cost from £13B to £130M.

The issue is that a foreign country isn't going to give you access when your country won't give their citizens access on equal terms. It's not an issue of a small fee. Why should a British person willing to pay £185/year get access to the EU while a French person willing to pay £185/year wouldn't get access to the UK? That's the heart of the Brexit issue and why a small fee has nothing to do with the problem. Europe isn't going to give British people freedom of movement into Europe when the UK won't give Europeans freedom of movement into the UK. Why should they give UK citizens more rights than those of other European nations?

The issue is that there aren't a lot of alternatives that are in any way realistic. A realistic solution would mean that UK citizens don't get to live/work in more places than other EU citizens without some form of consideration proportional to the right. £185/year isn't proportional, especially since other EU nations must pay into EU coffers. I'm always interested in alternatives, but most alternatives sound more like, "this would be useful and cheap for me and next I'd like a free, unlimited mobile plan with no strings attached." Of course it would be useful if the EU let you pay a tiny fee for the right to live and work in the rest of the EU. Would the UK also let Europeans pay that fee to live and work in the UK? No? Ah, there's the problem.

A realistic solution could be one where a country in the EU allows UK citizens to become citizens of their country provided they renounce all ties to the UK and give up all rights in the UK. That would allow UK citizens to determine which set of rights they wanted to live under - but they'd lose UK rights if they chose the European side. But that's not "I get the best of both worlds." If you want rights in both the UK and Europe, then you need to be willing to offer those rights to EU citizens, not just UK citizens. To be fair, you might be more than willing to offer that if you were part of the remain camp, but that doesn't square with Brexit.

Ultimately, the issue is just that Brexit is a rejection of the type of thing you think could be nice. Brexit is a rejection of freedom of movement. Brexit is a rejection of making national citizenship less meaningful. Brexit is a rejection of the idea that you should be able to easily live and work where you want to. Your idea might be cool, but it's the opposite of Brexit. Maybe we should move to a world where we can freely join "nations" or "unions" that square with what we want in life rather than being citizens of where we were born or whom we were born to. But that's the opposite of the sentiment expressed by Brexit which seeks to limit that type of freedom.

I've seen you post this at least five times now. Next time you're on your comments page to copy it again, read what people said about it all of the other times you posted it.

I have never posted this comment before. You can look through my comments history to verify this easily.

Oh god, I'm going senile, or perhaps it's deja vu. I'm sorry.


> It's easy to forget how lucky those of us in the developed world are and how so many try so hard to gain status here.

I like complaining about insignificant things for that specific reason.

Your passport is another first world problem. "There are so many visa-free countries I can visit! How do I pick one to go to for my next vacation?"

> I hope someday you're able to get the US tourist visa to experience the joys of the US: Yosemite, NYC, Disney World and Taco Bell.

Just nitpicking but Taco bell has outlets all around the world. You don't need to visit the US for that.

I can relate. I was a citizen of Turkmenistan, which is even more opressive than Uzbekistan. It's one of the most closed countries in the world on par with North Korea (or worse). If you're interested, you can read a good travel report from a Russian blogger (translated into English) [0].

So yeah, I totally agree that citizenship/passport of a free (or relatively free) country can be one of the greatest assets that you can have in your life.

[0] http://varlamov.ru/1740845.html

Yes, I'm aware of situation in Turkmenistan. I left Uzbekistan when I was 22 years old (i.e. I lived there pretty long time) and heard about Turkmenistan government.

Turkmenistan for me is kinda mystery because they have a lot of natural gas and they could become pretty rich and developed country (kinda UAE). But they didn't. They got very weird dictator instead.

Yes, I read this blog already.

Is it difficult to leave Turkmenistan? Do you have some variant of exit visas?

There are very few information about this country on the internet.

    > Do you have some variant of exit visas?
Exit visas were cancelled around 2006 or 2007.

    > Is it difficult to leave Turkmenistan?
It depends on your situation. For some people it's not too dificult, for some it's impossible.

I've witnessed Canadian/Turkmen dual citizen was denied to leave the country until she cancel her Canadian or Turkmeni citizenship (which takes about 6+ months).

If you oppose the government they can arbitrarily prohibit you from leaving the country for an arbitrary length of time (read: until the government is changed). And "opposing the government" can be taken very liberally: it can be even a slight criticizing comment in a social network (those are blocked anyway, though).

    > I left Uzbekistan when I was 22 years old
We have a lot in common. ;) I left at the same age and I regret I didn't do it earlier.

I can imagine. When I was in Uzbekistan I met a local man who had studied in the UK and he explained to me how hard it was to travel. I was amazed you needed exit visas for your own country. I thought that stuff died long ago (with the exception of North Korea or so).

Just 90 miles from Key West, Florida there is a country which required strict exit visas until just 3 years ago.


How could I forget! I even visited Cuba about 15 years ago.

No expert on either place but from what little I do know I'd rather live in Cuba. Uzbekistan truly is a police state.

"Just 90 miles from Key West there is a country" -

Why not just explicitly state the country....?

We know it's Cuba and these restrictions existed for obvious reasons.

It emphasizes Cuba's geographical proximity to the Western World.

Just 0 kilometers from West Germany, there used to be a country with "strict exit visas", too. You can't get closer than that.

Used to be.

I would think a quarter century qualifies as "long ago" in the timescale of a single human life.

For dramatic effect, which is good, since language is a construct for human expression.

The name of the country is not nearly as important as its proximity to the US.

It is very effective writing.

I think they're intimately related in this context and disagree that it's proximity is important beyond it's identification, which, as stated above, is obvious.

Many countries in the Middle East still require exit visas. Dubai (UAE) is one of them

No, it's not.

For citizens and expats it's ridiculously painless to enter/exit the UAE. Even as an American citizen with Global Entry, it's far easier to go in and out of the UAE than it is to enter/exit the USA.

I assume you're referring to the controversial Kafala system which chiefly harms migrant workers. It does not, in fact, require that anyone receive an exit visa.

The issue is primarily one of employers confiscating passports, not the government requiring you to obtain an exit visa. Fortunately, even in the four years I lived there the situation improved with more employees getting to hold on to their passports.

If you want to talk about repressive policies, you're much better off talking about Saudi Arabia which does require exit permits and has a far worse record on human rights (for both citizens and migrant workers).

Agreed it's painless as an expat to exit - but, note that the United States doesn't have an Exit Process. UAE Does (at least in Dubai). I took an Exit-Enter-Trip to Oman every 30 days while working there to keep my Visa Status current. Pretty much the same as Singapore. (Though, in Singapore, if you overstay, it's prison and caning - for real. In Dubai I believe it's just a fine)

Dubai and by the extension doesn't require any sort of exit permit to leave the country unless you're giving up your residency at which time, you go through a pretty painless visa cancellation process. Very free movement given our strong aviation culture and infrastructure.

Except for the migrant workers, who built said infrastructure and are often compared to slaves. It's not easy for them to leave.

That's because their passports are taken from them, no? I had no issues leaving Dubai last time I visited.

I cant agree anymore. I posses literally the worst passport in the world: Afghanistan. Not only you are required to have a Visa basically for every country, getting a visa is also near impossible. And having a visa doesnt mean you wont get lengthy checkups and fishy looks at the airports :( Citizenship is discrimination.

The Netherlands doesn't allow for dual citizenship, so you'll have to give up one of your other two :(. But if you're an NL resident, there are plenty of other EU nations that do allow multi-citizenship.

Also, there are not "first world" or "third world" countries. Those terms are throwbacks to an era where everything was separated out by communists vs capitalist states. The correct terms today are high income, mid-income and low-income/peripheral nations.

Germany doesn't allow dual citizenship either, unless you acquire dual citizenship at birth (perhaps you were born in the US but your mother is German). In all other cases one either loses their German citizenship (or surrenders their foreign citizenship) immediately upon acquiring the other citizenship. If you are under 18, you get to wait until you turn 18 to make your choice (in some cases until 23).

After some research it turns out that Germany allows people to acquire a foreign citizenship without losing their German citizenship in special circumstances. You need their explicit permission before beginning the citizenship process of another country. The application is free form.

I just went through this a few months ago and Germany approved my request with no issues. Soon I'll be a German and US citizen.

The idea behind this application is basically to show strong ties to Germany (often including significant savings or investments) and that you are not just keeping the citizenship for the safety net.

Additionally to what you said, you can stay German citizen without any approval if you acquire an EU or Swiss citizenship.

I once travelled with a woman who had NL, UK, and US passports. She sounded British, identified as Dutch, and travelled on the US passport (she showed me all three). She travelled on the US passport because if you get into trouble, the US will tend to do the "no citizen left behind! rawr!" thing, whereas UK/NL will do the "well, you were pretty fucking stupid to get into that situation, then" thing... (her position, in my words :) )

Is there a guide to multiple citizenship power leveling anywhere?

Edit: A bit of munging from the web page later...

For Americans and British/Western Europe, the passports you want are Burkina Faso, Benin and Senegal. They will bring your passport power level up by 13 points to 168 (American) and 170 (UK) and give you visa free access to Cote Divoire (Ivory Coast), Mali, Iran, Congo, Niger, Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Chad, Ghana. In reality these countries may not allow dual citizenship! Benin and Burkina Faso however do recognize dual citizenship while Senegal does not. (http://www.multiplecitizenship.com/worldsummary.html)

The highest power level you can have as a dual citizen is 170. Any combination of these three African countries and Western European nations will achieve this. So the most powerful dual citizens are mostly West African migrants.

Now for triple citizens, the highest possible power is a whopping 178. There are a few combinations that do this, involving those 3 African countries, plus Russian Federation, Singapore, Japan and Turkey. For example, Turkey/Japan/Senegal, Burkina Faso/Russia/Singapore, Japan/Benin/Turkey. So it looks like the path to ultimate power is sadly blocked for those of us in the USA and Europe, and in fact, the most powerful dual citizens cannot become the most powerful triple citizens. On the other hand, Senegal/United States of America/Malaysia will get you 177, nearly as good.

yeah, they are called 'second passport' guides.

assuming marriage is unfavorable and you don't want to pretend to be jewish, there are a couple of treaties you can take advantage of, typically old imperialist countries have guilt trips with their former south american or african colonies and have an easy citizenship path for citizens in those former colonies. But then those former colonies have really malleable government officials so you can get one passport and upgrade to EU, in theory.

then next way that is less theoretical requires money, liquid, cash.

Malta is in the EU and lets you buy an EU citizenship and passport. Takes one year, it isn't that expensive though. ~500,000 euros. Any homeowner in the bay area could do it. The majority of the cost is a real estate or bond investment, so you actually still have your principle.

Many first world countries like the US have pay for citizenship programs if you are wealthy and have liquid assets. Malta's is most analogous to the US' EB-5 citizenship investment program, except you get free trade and travel with a bunch of other countries (like if you really wanted to take advantage of Germany's laws or the UK's laws for your next domicile or company)

St. Kitts and Nevis is a federation in the Caribbean, they offer the same thing for like $250,000. The US State Department cautions investment with that country because of some favorable expropriation laws that government granted itself, but it is no different than civil asset forfeiture in almost any US state. The key point in St. Kitts and Nevis being a federation, like the United States, is that Nevis itself is a semi-autonomous state, like North Carolina would be. And has duplicate laws and officials that fly far under the radar for most international purposes. So, just keep that in mind if you ever need to get crafty.

It's worth noting that this Passport Index is maintained by Arton Capital which is in the business of facilitating these citizenship purchase arrangements and has a whole guide about it comparing all the countries that allow it: http://www.artoncapital.com/

Awesome, thanks!

> it isn't that expensive though. ~500,000 euros. Any homeowner in the bay area could do it.

I'm not sure whether to roll my eyes at over half a million dollars being "not that expensive" or the assertion that any Bay Area homeowner has that much liquidity to just toss at a Maltese passport. Unless you're suggesting selling the house to do it.

home equity line of credit

the primary distinction I was hoping to make was that you didn't need to be an international spy or an oil baron to achieve the levels of wealth necessary to get these things.

Er, you should revisit what having that much spending power, even via a HELOC, would place one in terms of percentile. Your oil baron suddenly isn't far off since that graph is somewhat exponential.

Most area homeowners I know are driving Civics or Jettas and worrying about property tax assessments, so. The comment was just silly in terms of perspective and was silly to come across in a thread that already discussed privilege (for lack of a better word, I know it's loaded).

A HELOC is a monumentally terrible idea for the situation, by the way.

Ok. The bay area comment wasn't the only inflammatory hyberbole I wrote so I will gladly concede that I wrote something incongruent with all perspectives.


Even then, you have to contend with American taxes and USD-to-Euro conversion fees. The idea that 500,000 Euros is inexpensive for anyone who's less than a multimillionaire is ridiculous.

There aren't many fees for a usd to euro conversions at those amounts. One wire transfer for $50 and a point zero of a percent spread if that.

> old imperialist countries have guilt trips with their former south american or african colonies and have an easy citizenship path for citizens in those former colonies

haha, no - nothing about guilt. They only offer citizenship paths only to 3rd-/4th-generation descendants of emigrees. Allowing the natives of former colonies to easily gain citizenship in the old country is simply not tenable, old chap, they need to have the right pedigree. tut-tut.

I have Australia/Tunisia/USA, but I haven't looked up the total number of countries I can enter visa-free. Tunisia gives me visa-free entry to Turkey and a few African countries, but not much else.

I'm looking to emigrate to a European country once I finish my studies in the hopes of getting a 4th passport - anyone know if that's possible in the EU? I know that Sweden, my top choice, only allows dual citizenship. South Korea looks quite attractive given that I'm in the field of electronics, but language looks like a barrier.

As I understand it, countries tend to either allow multiple citizenships or one citizenship - if they let you have two, then you can go and and get 17 as far as they care. So Sweden is probably fine, although you should check with them. My sister has US/Australia/UK and my brother is on track to have UK/Australia/France now that Brexit makes it worth his while to apply for the French.

Don't make the mistake that got Swedish ice hockey player Ulf Samuelsson ejected from the 1998 olympics as he had received a US citizenship and should have surrendered his Swedish citizenship [0]. Though I see they allow dual citizenship since 2003.

Check the specific rules. For instance I know Norway don't allow dual citizenship, with one exception if parents are from different countries. Hence my kids have Norwegian and British passports.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulf_Samuelsson#International_p...

Re: Japan/Singapore/Senegal and 2 other passports - in theory a great idea but those 3 countries do not allow dual citizenship.

As far as dual citizenship (with the greatest amount of travel) is concerned, anyone of the G7 country passport (minus Japan) and one other should be fine. Best I could think of is US/Germany/UK/etc. + Chile (visa free throughout S. America, Europe including Russia, India). For visa-free travel to China, if your nationality & business qualifies, you can apply for an APEC business travel card.

The guide you posted is a bit dated – Czech Republic recognizes dual citizenship since 2014 and the guide doesn't say so (I know this because I'm hopefully getting a second citizenship in a year or so).

Singapore doesn't allow double citizenship though, except for children under the age of 18. So in your example the power level would drop at that age.

How do you calculate the power ranking of a dual passport holder?

The same way the web site does. The number of countries a person holding both passports could visit visa-free.

It did not realize the website already calculated that number.

My combined number is 159, an increase of only 3 from my third ranked passport.

I counted it myself too until I realized the website provided that.

My second citizenship adds 6 countries to my first, for a total of 163. These 6 include Yemen, Syria, Rwanda, Mali, Guinea and my second country itself, so I guess at the moment it probably only counts as a +4, really.

However, if I were to travel to one of those countries, I think I'd rather apply for a visa with my European passport, to make sure I can request assistance from the consulate should anything happen.

Let's comment on the visual design of passports. These are all basically the same, except two that stand out: Switzerland, and The Vatican. The latter is very typically Swiss, with an attractive, simple, and modern design. The former is sinister and mysterious, but also quite distinctive.

Honorable mention to Brazil and Bosnia for having passports without a coat of arms type of thing on the front.

The Swiss benefit from having a flag with a moniker that is simple and instantly recognizable and fits very well in something similar to today's minimalist designs. The others who use coat-of-arms-like designs can't.

To be fair, I had to search for the Vatican and Switzerland, so they didn't stand out to me. The most noticeable was Brazil's with a "design" (at least a line) that fills the whole cover. It might have hurt though that the Vatican's and Switzerland's passports were on the far left side on my monitor size while Brazil's was near the center.

As far as I know the cross is technically the coat of arms, which probably has to do with the whole confederation thing. Passports do usually have quite different backgrounds inside, but generally you of course want them to be as recognizable as possible.

One other cute side note. It looks like all passports seem to span the colors of the rainbow!...save yellow. Gold seems to be the standard color of the type/designs, so I suppose yellow or orange[0] as backgrounds are out.

Most have dignified, darker tones. Singapore and Switzerland have the brightest backgrounds of brilliant red while a few have pale but not over-saturated greens (Niger, Guinea, Saudi Arabia). Actually Fiji has quite a cyan passport too.

[0] The red Singapore passport comes close to orange, although that might just be the way they scanned it.

For what it's worth, I know that the British emergency passport is pretty close to yellow - It seems to look more beige on the internet than I remember it though.

I had one a couple of years ago and it was a warm-cream colour. Biggest rip off ever though - don't lose you passport while abroad!

I was always a fan of the the New Zealand passport. I think the edge design is rather distinctive/attractive.

> Honorable mention to Brazil and Bosnia for having passports without a coat of arms type of thing on the front.

I'm not sure what Bosnian passport you saw, but my friend's definitely has a coat of arms (shield) on it.

There are a couple other interesting variations from the default. Having a border (Republic of Congo, using a map rather than a coat of arms (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras), and additional imagery that runs over the edge (Brazil, New Zealand, Portugal, and Sweden).

Check out the Maldives with the embossed dolphins on the front!

Personally, I love the coat of arms, it's such an anachronistic thing that's actually still a thing!

Anyone else reminded of Passport Please? Imagine having to recognize a fake passport by a slight difference in symbol/text format :)

Papers Please ^_^ and I loved that game, though this is massively hard mode.

"Papers, Please" is a game that includes passport inspection:


"Papers, Please", of course... I'm not worthy of glorious arstotzka.

When I first heard of Passport Please I was reminded of "Neal Stephenson - Error": the story contains a MMORPG which is used to "automate" stupid security tasks like screening people at an airport by "mapping" them to the MMORPG world were players are awarded when they detect a security threat. I hope this never becomes real.

Available DRM free for Windows, Mac and Linux on GOG. :)


I think I've once seen a service, which collected detailed information about the passports and other identification documents from all around the world and provided access to this over the Internet (probably in exchange for nice amount of $$$/€€€ per month).

I just can't remember the name of the service and also can't figure out appropriate search terms.

*papers, please

Reminds me of [Quest][1] by sailor-philosopher and self-declared citizen of the world [George Dibbern][2], who renounced his German passport in 1940 and created his own with the following declaration:

> I, George Dibbern, through long years in different countries and sincere friendship with many people in many lands feel my place to be outside of nationality, a citizen of the world and a friend of all peoples.

> I recognize the divine origin of all nations and therefore their value in being as they are, respect their laws, and feel my existence solely as a bridge of good fellowship between them.

[1]: http://www.georgedibbern.com/aboutdibbern.html [2]: http://www.georgedibbern.com/quest-dibbern.html

Looking at the passports that provide visa-free access to 158, 157, and 156 countries, I wonder why Viet Nam and Rwanda grant visas on arrival to specifically some European countries, but not others.

So for Viet Nam; Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Spain are okay, but not Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands.

Interesting visualisation; the map is missing South Sudan though.

It's just a matter of reciprocity. Look for instance at Gambia: it's visa-free to go there for citizens of countries where Gambian citizen can go visa-free too.

this is just how countries managed/refused treaties with each others, based on mutual interests, history, etc

This is pedantic, I know, but also interesting (to me, at least): the country is actually The Gambia, not Gambia. They want the article! And yes, I cringe when I hear news announcers say "The Ukraine" too. :)

(They also have an unusually tasteful flag, that manages to represent the geography of the country without looking like a map.)

Ho wow, you are totally correct, and I didn't know that. Thanks for pointing that out!

Many languages require articles for countries, with the weirdness that some countries are masculine (e.g., Mexico in French) while others are feminine (e.g., Argentina in Spanish).

I didn't know about the Gambia, but there are others in English, or example "The Czech Republic."

Cool stuff!

They can probably get a discount on The Ukraine's unwanted The's, as they only want to be called just 'Ukraine', but English speakers keep on prefixing with 'The'...

I doubt there's reciprocity involved many times. Better-off countries are going to have their citizens let in much more easily, in general. From a easier viewpoint: Who is more likely to overstay a visa/illegally immigrate? Apart from special deals (like the new Mexico-Canada one) that's probably a good way to guess at the visa status.

Although, after the visa issue, many less well-off countries are far more restrictive on immigration laws. Guatemala, for instance, charges a per-day fine for visa overstay and won't let you leave until it's resolved. My daughter, born to a GT national, owes around $4000 in fines on leaving.[1] Can you imagine how it'd be if Canada/EU/US would be viewed if they didn't let illegal immigrants leave until they paid fines?

Guatemala also supposedly requires a local transit-license to drive here. Whereas you can get stopped by the police as a Guatemala tourist in Canada/US just fine, here, even with passport and drivers' license, you can be detained/fined. However I imagine this is selectively enforced.

1: We'll end up either getting local citizenship to eliminate it, or somehow negotiating a better deal.

While you find reciprocity in many visa-agreements, it's not mandatory. If you look at the example from the parent comment:

Germans can enter Vietnam visa-free, while Vietnamese can't enter Germany visa-free. You find those one-sided visa-free agreements especially for many African countries.

It always comes down to negotiation power. To my knowledge, the (incoming) visa requirements should be identical for all countries of the Schengen zone though, as there is freedom of movement inside so having different entry requirements for each country wouldn't make much sense.


Just did a quick check on this (as it's a curious question) and it seems to be the case:


"If your visa is from a "Schengen area" country, it automatically allows you to travel to the other Schengen countries as well."

You are right. I suppose there are many parameters, for instance countries trying to live from tourism are probably more likely to accept visa-free travellers from wealthy countries even without reciprocity.

Just look at some of the countries at the top of the index and you'll realize that reciprocity is far from the deciding factor.

Americans can go to many countries (even ones without a large tourism economy) despite being rather stingy with letting others in.

Far more important is assessing the likelihood that someone will try to permanently stay/work on a tourist visa.

> It's just a matter of reciprocity

Not in the EU as the Schengen agreement regulates the Visa rules for the entire Schengen area.

Sweden had a period in the 1960s and 1970s of providing gratis aid[0] to many African countries, particularly those who were emerging from colonial rule. In the same period there were many West German advisors 'competing' for influence against their Eastern colleagues. Yugoslavia and China similarly.

[0] the SA and Rhodesian forces frequently intercepted insurgents carrying Swedish-origin provisions

Vietnam relaxed visa requirements for some European countries to attract tourism: http://www.ibtimes.com/vietnam-allows-visa-free-travel-visit...

I think this is a result of "visa agreements on EU/Schengen level" vs. "bilateral visa agreements". Why some EU-countries have bilateral agreements and some not could have different reasons, two I can think of (warning: speculating):

1. No need for a bilateral agreement meaning too few people would be affected by this (think of: number of expats/tourists).

2. Historical reasons, e.g. due to colonialism. This could be true for your vietnam example since The Netherlands got colonies on now-Vietnames territory.

The consistency of the design between passports is remarkable. They all follow a basic pattern: Country name at the top, centered logo, then the word 'passport' at the bottom. There are only a handful of countries that deviate from the pattern. It's almost like there is a universal passport design language. Does anyone know if there is a official specification counties follow?

Edit: The international Civil Aviation Organization issues the specification. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Civil_Aviation...

In case anyone else was curious as to the difference between "Visa on Arrival" and "Visa Free", check out this Quora thread: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-visa-on...

It seems the practical difference is mainly in name only, although it's possible that immigration officers are given more leeway to restrict entry for the "visa on arrival" countries.

Most of the time "Visa on Arrival" costs money as well whereas "Visa Free" is free.

I'm not sure if that's right. Countries all the time have mandatory fees included in Airline tickets. Sometimes those fees are paid at the airport on arrival instead. Many other other Visa Free countries have a mandatory departure tax.

A lot of the "Visa Free" countries have fees (whether they call them visa fees, tourism fee, etc). I'm not sure that any correlation can be drawn between "Visa Free" and "$0".

>Countries all the time have mandatory fees included in Airline tickets.

>Sometimes those fees are paid at the airport on arrival instead.

In most cases they apply to everyone though, even people with no visa requirement.

>I'm not sure that any correlation can be drawn between "Visa Free" and "$0".

Not in general, but when looking at the visa costs.

The passports with a symbol of a circle inside a rectangle at the bottom include biometric information:


Thank you. I have been wondering this for quite some time.

Last time I was checking this index is pretty crappy (as in inaccurate and spotty; for instance it claims that swiss citizens can access North Korea visa free). Henley & Partners have one that is more reliable. I spot checked last year's version of H&P and that website against timatic which is the source for both and H&P was at least mostly correct.

Unfortunately there is no good way to get access to this information in machine readable format. It's all free form text and full of special rules.

There's are some multinational passports. There's the European Union laissez-passer.[1] This is issued to European Union officials who travel on EU business, and is accepted as a passport within the EU and by about 100 non-EU countries. There's also a United Nations laissez-passer, for UN officials.[2] That's not as widely accepted as the EU one.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_laissez-passer [2] United Nations laissez-passer

If I imagine a completely open world with no visas I think the "first world" would stop being desirable. USA and Europe would be flooded with hundreds of millions of people and would develop giant slums. It would be bad not only for the current people that live there but also for the people that currently want to move to a better place since there wouldn't be a better place to move to.

It would be nice for this ranking to be expanded to include employment/work access beyond tourist visits.

I'm working on acquiring an Italian passport not because it will allow me to enter more countries without a visa (an American passport is fine for that) but because it allows long-term working/residence in EU countries. Unfortunately, this ranking doesn't capture that dynamic.

It would be interesting to see what other countries have similar free working visa agreements. It may be hard to capture in a number - there's cases like Canadians getting a TN visa at the border to the US.

Incidentally the Germanic nations (German, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland etc) always ranks in top 5 in almost every ranking of this kind.

OT: Is Finland a Germanic nation? Their language isn't afaik.

No. Finland speaks Finnish and Swedish, and they lie within the Nordic region.

Well that doesn't really exclude them since Swedes and Norwegians are Germanic. After more research it seems that Finns are a distinct ethnic group though their origins are somewhat uncertain https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finn

In any case, it's all pretty irrelevant to the site.

Definitely Finish as a language is completely unrelated to any Germanic language.

Grammatically you're right but due to the Baltic trade, the Swedish occupation and various other historical reasons there is a lot of Germanic vocabulary in Finnish etymology, though many words of Germanic origin are no longer recognizable. Estonian, a very closely related language, has kept some of those in an earlier form where they are more recognizably Germanic.

Mildly disappointed that this appears to only be a list of national passports.

It would be nice to see the World[1] and Sovereign Military Order of Malta[2] passports on here, as well as any others that I don't know about

That said, neither of them align well with the purposes of the company running the site - securing multiple citizenships for rich people.

The latter requires rather a lot of effort to get, as you need to work up to become one of the three senior officials of the order (which, I think, requires a vow of poverty).

The former costs as little as $55 for three years, and doesn't have any visa-free arrangements.

[1] http://www.worldservice.org/visas.html

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_Military_Order_of_Ma...

  National borders are imaginary lines on a map that people are
  willing to kill people for; just for the privilege to keep imagining 
  the lines [1]
[1] http://www.kentforliberty.com/borders.html

No mention yet of the very best passport to have - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_laissez-passer

(It's baby blue of course) It's kind of neat to see them in the wild.

Curious, why is it the best passport to have?

You get to bypass the regular folk and use the diplomatic lane for processing. Holders don't require Visas in many countries and some versions of the passport carry diplomatic privileges (including immunity).

I'm sure there are other perks akin to having a diplomatic passport from whereveristan, but with the added weight that it's issued by the UN.

The link you provided doesn't say that though.

> Most countries do not accept a UNLP as a travel document, unless a visa has been added.

and most people with the blue passport don't get diplomatic immunity - that's limited to a few people with the right visas and the red version.

> Most officials hold a blue UNLP (up to D-1 level), which is similar in legal status to a service passport (however, diplomatic status may be conferred on the holder if the visa issued in the UNLP is a diplomatic visa). A red UNLP is issued to particularly high officials (D-2 and above), and depending on their rank, this may confer diplomatic privileges and the red UNLP may therefore be similar to a diplomatic passport.

What a bizarre thing to wish to argue nuances about. I just thought the passport was neat, had cachet and I really like the idea of being a "Citizen of Earth". I'm actually sorry I even mentioned it. But since you wish to be pedantic:

I said that holders don't require Visas in many countries - According to the second paragraph of the Wiki link there are at least 29 countries. This qualifies as many.

I also said "You get to bypass the regular folk and use the diplomatic lane for processing" - As per the Wiki link, it's considered equivalent to a "Service Passport". This allows processing through diplomatic lanes at airports that have them. Further reference is here: https://books.google.ca/books?id=RpIDDAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA508&ots=...

Lastly, I said "some versions …carry diplomatic privileges (including immunity)". Here is a chart with some more details (see "International Organizations section"): http://www.slogold.net/diplomatic_immunity.html It clearly says support staff enjoy immunity for official acts and higher ranking officials (with the red version of UNLP) enjoy full immunity.

I don't think that qualifies as 'many', if you want to be pedantic. My Belgian ID card (not even a passport!) gives me visaless and pasportless access to 50 countries..

But I agree, it would be a very near passport to have, and I wish there really was such a thing as a 'citizen of earth'-passport.

That's great but European freedom of unrestricted movement is certainly not the norm in the world. Rather it is the rare exception.

It's "the best" in the sense of being the classiest (but definitely not the most powerful as a standalone passport, it would be ranked pretty low in the featured site). Obviously, it also has immense value in supporting the fact that you're UN staff.

> It remains unclear what the remaining added value of an UNLP is, in view of the restrictions imposed by different countries.

What is the value?

I'd guess it helps for people with "unwelcome" citizenship travelling for the UN.

For example, someone from Afghanistan working for the UN Refugee Agency travelling to a conference in the USA might receive less suspicion at the border.

Low-traffic Wikipedia articles often feature a mix of referenced facts and confused opinions (eg. the sentence you're quoting, which almost seems to be a joke statement). Hit me pretty hard in university when I put complete garbage about plant classification in my (admittedly rushed) dissertation.

What is it with South American countries not being able to lay out things properly? Peru looks like someone forgot centre everything and by the time they noticed they had already printed hundreds of thousands of passport covers so they just went with it.

Whereas Peru's is one my favorites largely because it's one of the relative few that's not all centered. (I also noticed Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland. Iran and Maldives are centered, but off-center.)

Honduras and Guatemala have the worst passport covers in the world. They're both the same political map of central america with with their respective countries shaded in. It looks like they they both farmed this out to some 10 year old that had never seen a passport before. Both countries have perfectly good coat of arms. Why not use that? Instead it's like a geography lesson. ("I've been working in passport control for years, and I don't know where your country is." "Well, sir, it's this one right here." "Oh nice. Thanks. Learn something everyday!")

Australia is such an unwelcoming country it's embarrassing. I suspect it's island mentality. At the airport we treat all arriving passengers as criminals - guilty of some terrible crime until cleared with a fully cavity search. To all our visitors - past, present and future - I apologise for our stupid bureaucracy and politicians. Once you get out of the airport things do get a little better.

I'm not sure how it is for non citizens, but for citizens its incredibly easy. Scan your passport, go to the facial recognition gate and you are through. If you have nothing to declare you can pick up your bags from the carousel and head on through.

The first time I went through the facial recognition it had issues recognising me and I had to queue for 10-15 minutes, but when I went through 2 years later (having been in a motorcycle accident 24 hours earlier with a smashed up face, beard and not having showered in 36 hours) it worked flawlessly.

Honestly most countries are like this if you have to speak with customs. The US has been my worst experience and I use to cross into it frequently. At least with epassports these days I generally don't even have to talk to anyone when I arrive in Sydney except the guy that checks if you need to have the dogs sniff your bags.

> I generally don't even have to talk to anyone when I arrive in Sydney

I always have to speak to a customs agent when traveling to Australia. My passport and all alternate photo ids are pre-big-bushy-beard, which throws the facial recognition kiosks for a loop. I made the mistake of trying to joke about it to the customs agent one time, and I remember her raising her eyebrows at me and calling over a supervisor.

The grandparent's comment is pretty descriptive of my experience at the Australian border.

> At the airport we treat all arriving passengers as criminals

How many borders is that not descriptive of though? The US border even fingerprints people now.

The closest I've come to not being treated like a criminal are borders in SEA where the agents only spoke a few words of English so they may have looked at me like I was a criminal but couldn't really say it in a way I would understand.

On the map (https://www.passportindex.org/byRank.php) Greenland should probably have a "more powerful" colour since they get a Danish passport.

In relation to passport power - I find Trump's proposed ban on Muslims pretty interesting to think about. Although widely criticized, it seems to me more ethically wrong to base entry decisions on country of origin (not a choice) than of religion (a choice).

Obviously there are many issues with the practicality, unintended consequences, and the blanket nature of a ban on muslims. That said, I'm not sure I see an ethical issue compared to restricting based on country of origin (what this site shows).

Reasoning about immigration laws is pointless because the foundation is based on magical thinking. There is no logic at all behind any of it. Citizenship by blood, by birthplace, by religion... then you look into getting a travel visa, or a work permit. There's nothing rational about any of it. Just endless lunacy. I probably shouldn't complain, as I'm eligible for four different citizenships... but when you look into this stuff, there's nothing very logical about it, and it's somewhat depressing that the planet is still this bizarre.

I'm not so sure it's illogical. It's tough to kick people out of a country that they were born in. While a 3 time armed robber born in the US and released from prison will be back on the streets of the US - ideally he / she would be sent somewhere else.

Immigration is a rare time when a country can choose what people to allow in or not. I would think that a country should be more concerned about its own residents than about residents of other countries. So for example, when the US sees that visitors / immigrants from some other country has on average high rates of unsavory activities - the US is in a position to restrict entry.

In a slightly extreme example: Imagine a country, safe-istan, has almost no crime. But 50% of immigrants / visitors from crime-istan commit crimes when they visit safe-istan. Should safe-istan allow all people from crime-istan unrestricted entry into their country? Or should they have an application / visa program?*

*I actually think this is a pretty realistic situation - visible especially in the Nordic countries and Japan.

I'd expand that to cultural preservation in general. The French like being French and living in a French country, with all that entails concerning values, music, food, and way of life. The Japanese like being Japanese and living in a Japanese country. Mass migration can change the character of a country. It's totally logical to want to preserve your culture and way of life.

If 100 million people from the Middle East moved into France (to use a hyperbolic thought experiment), it would cease to be a French country. And we don't need to use this thought experiment. You're kidding yourself if you think that mass migration from the Middle East and Northern Africa into France over the last few decades has been anything but an unmitigated disaster. There are plenty of great people from those countries, and their children, who have assimilated and contributed great things to French society. But the problems are so great that I think most French people would turn back the clock and undo the whole thing if they could.

This will be controversial, but France doesn't have any right to be a "French" country. Individuals have rights, but cultures and nations don't have a right to exist. If they did we would be obliged to preserve them, but peoples, countries and cultures always vanish over time, and there's no general obligation to stop this happening. Saying otherwise is simply a conservative demand, with no ethical basis.

"The French like being French and living in a French country, with all that entails" - This claim also implies a right for the French people to preserve the ethnic composition (white French) of their country, which is both racist and probably impossible.

I'd argue the aggregate human benefit to letting people from poor countries move to wealthy countries far outweighs any inconvenience or discomfort caused to the wealthy. 100 million people aren't going to move from the Middle East, but they might well move from subsaharan Africa, and it would certainly greatly improve their lives, and living conditions in Africa as they sent money 'back home'. French culture does not seem important compared to stopping millions of deaths from disease and starvation.

    which is both racist 
Is it more racist than demanding the right for the non-French people to change the ethnic composition of their host country?

   and probably impossible.
Japan does it quite successfully. Try getting Saudi / Qatari citizenship ...

    it would certainly greatly improve their 
    lives, and living conditions in Africa
You state this pretty confidently. Have you got any evidence to back this up? Historically, successful countries have been the exception rather than the norm. The norm is failed states.

The fear of the anti-immigration crowd (whether right or wrong) is that mass migration will bring the target country down, rather than lift the immigrants up.

Part of the rights of individuals is self-determination. If a people want to pick and choose who they admit into their community, that is their right. If they want to close their borders to the rest of the world, that is their right as well.

The fact that everything dies in the long run doesn't mean that those who hold their nations and cultures dear today should not work toward their preservation. An argument from nihilism isn't convincing to me. You and I will die too, but that shouldn't stop us from pursuing the good life in the meantime.

Besides, it's not a given that all current nations and cultures will die. They will certainly change over time, but it could very well be that the first human colony in another galaxy will fly an American flag. It's unlikely, but who knows.

Why don't I have self determination? Why can't I get together with a few like minded friends and secede from our country?

Indeed it's unlikely. That flag will be the Chinese flag.

Travel restrictions sound okay until you're in a situation where they actually affect you. I went on my share of hostel trips after university. I have yet to meet a traveler from any country, who thought it was fair that they couldn't work or live wherever they wanted. If you wanted to live in Japan, for example, and some Japanese guy told you he was worried you'd personally be damaging the country with your foreign values, I doubt you'd find much merit in the argument. That might be correct, I don't know, but it's hard to accept when the liberty being denied is one's own.

Immigration policy isn't for your convenience as a foreigner. It's made solely for the benefit of the people who already live there, as it should be.

"As it should be" kind of rubs me the wrong way. The world is the way it is, not because it's the best of all possible worlds, but through a bunch of historical accidents.

You wouldn't want to live in a world where you were subject to the majority rule of the entire human race, which seems to be the logical conclusion of your reasoning on this.

I get your drift, but at this point we're conflating two different issues. I'm just arguing for freedom of movement. There are many forms of government under which that could happen. Everything from the mundane (treaties) to fringe ideas (direct democracy, government by AI, total anarchy, or whatever else). But to discuss the merits of those... feels like it's going OT.

This clearly doesn't apply the United States then, who's culture is swallowing up immigrants and adding their influences to our melting pot.

Depends which Americans you ask. Try asking old, white and rural people about this and you might get a surprising answer. There is a disagreement about what America is and what's un-American and foreign.

The US is a mix of different European cultures and touches of other cultures in some regions. Hamburgers, pizza, enchilada's for simple minded examples?

I'm not talking (just) about who came on the mayflower, there has been influxes of immigrants since the founding of the nation. I currently reside in a part of town referred to as "German Village", which was settled primarily by German immigrants in the mid to late 1800's and continues to have places that serve "German" cuisine.

America from its founding was a place for people of all stripes to gather. It of course not only is a amalgamation of cultures but it has birthed its own cultures, some of which are associated with certain groups or regions: southern culture, new england culture, african american culture to name a few subcultures/groups--even the cultures we've birthed show diversity!

I'm the son of Cuban immigrants and I think that immigration levels are much too high right now, of populations that are a mismatch for our economic needs (lots of low-skill workers, but we have a tragic surplus of low-skill labor), into a system that doesn't encourage integration (welfare state and identity politics), and sometimes from cultures that don't share our values.

I think anyone who wants to come to this country to become one of us should be able to, provided they;

Can pass the citizenship test.

Can speak english at a conversational or better level.

Can afford a more than nominal sum for a visa (1500-5000 dollars).

Can pass a criminal history check of some sort.

Doing so would get you a 5 year work visa, after the expiration of that, you could renew it again, and after that, you must either formally file for citizenship (and then agree to remain here for 5 years after other than short visits home) or go back home for at least 5 years when you can start the process over again.

I agree with the citizenship test and the criminal history test. I think English at a conversational level is good too for practical reasons but that matched with the visa sum would select for more wealthy and hence educated immigrants. That isn't an issue, but given that many illegal aliens are filling unskilled jobs that Americans are unwilling to fill seems to suggest to me that the general desire is for unskilled immigration, not skilled. I mean this is hackernews, just look at how many H1b visa stories make the front page. Generally, people benefit from low skilled labor while they suffer from skilled immigrants who would compete with them while accepting lower wages.

I believe if we passed these rules, you'd see schools open just on the other side of the border. But, my idea is that it would be accompanied by a guest worker program, that would allow someone to come for say, 8 out of a rolling 12 year period.

if you asked those same old white and rural people a century ago.. well wait - they would have largely been freshly immigrated from Scandenavia or Germany.

This divide has existed as long as the united states has existed - and it will exist as long as there is immigration - this pressure exists to ensure that too much immigration doesnt happen, and that the melting pot can keep up.

That said, we're the only country in the world where being an 'real member of the country' largely means some legal gobbily-gook and deciding that you wish to ascribe to some somewhat nebulous american ideals.

>somewhat nebulous american ideals

The constitution and the philosophy espoused in the declaration of independence are perhaps open to interpretation but it's not that nebulous. I do agree you saying "somewhat" could either be sarcasm or you could literally mean that the "American ideals" are just somewhat nebulous other than totally arbitrary.

What constitutes the whole of american ideals is somewhat nebulous is what I was saying. I value american ideals, but my concept of what american ideals mean - outside of a few very key items - may vary widely from another person my age, with a similar background.

Yes, but as far as I can tell this is not France's biggest problem, and if they fixed the bigger problems this one would get a lot more manageable.

It's... frustrating... that a failure in presenting 1st, 2nd, 3rd generations of immigrants with a good life results in terrorism, but two wrongs don't make a right.

"ideally he / she would be sent somewhere else."

Where? Who would want them?

Some years ago, there was a judge in a Southern town who had the bright idea of giving their criminals a bus ticket to LA. One of the criminals was arrested in LA and told cops and prosecutors about this. LA authorities were annoyed, and there was some press coverage. Someone pointed out that LA could easily give bus tickets to a few hundred of their crooks and send them to the Southern town. The judge stopped sending people to LA.

There is nothing illogical about it.

If all the worlds borders were open then economies would move to the average. Workers in poor countries would move to rich countries (because they have higher wages) until those countries wages had gone down, and the countries they left would have their wages go up due to the supply decrease in workers.

It's complete logical self interest for country richer than the average to not want to allow this to happen.

Economies are not zero-sum.

The flow of capital and education to poor countries would increase their productivity (and thus wages and standard of living) while the increased supply of labor decreases prices in rich countries, and the new equilibrium would be strictly better for both sides.

Find a good economics textbook. (This is an issue where economists are in almost universal agreement, and almost universally opposed by politicians and the general public).

Free trade (and free immigration, which is essentially the same) is undoubtedly good on the whole. However, the current anti-trade pandering from Trump / Sanders and the like may also be correct.

Expanded access to markets may be unequal. For example, if there was an untapped country that had a million unemployed meteorologists - signing a free-trade deal with that country would most likely be terrible for meteorologists in America - although all other Americans would be better off with improved weather forecasts.

Replace "meteorologists" with "factory laborer" and you can see why so many of the current anti-trade folks are upset with what they see happening. They aren't barbers or plumbers - they're factory workers. The barbers, plumbers and engineers get cheaper stuff (and are better off), but the factory workers get paid less.

I'm sorry but that's transparently bullshit, an example of good on paper but bad I reality. It does very little but line the pockets of a select few in the rich nations. There is no reason for me to give a shit about someone in Africa if it means my own family, my own people struggle.

"My own people".

Clearly you use that phrase to mean people who share a nationality with you. Historically, this phrase has been used more often to refer to people with the same skin color, or religion, as you.

You could use the exact words you used to justify systematic exclusion of people of another race or religion from jobs and markets controlled by "your people". I like to think that we’d all consider that appalling.

Like race or religion, nationality is largely determined by an accident of birth. It is inconsistent to hold that racial or religious discrimination is unethical, but discriminating on the basis of nationality is somehow okay.

We are all human, we deserve the same opportunities. But when mass migrations happen, they threaten the host country and also don't solve the problem back in the source country. The solution would be to make it better to live everywhere, so that people would not be so tempted to migrate. It will probably happen for Africa and Middle East in this century, as technology advances quickly.

And I assume a very similar argument was made in apartheid South Africa, or Jim Crow US.

“We are all human, we deserve the same opportunities. But when [black people move into white neighborhoods], they threaten [white neighborhoods] and also don't solve the problem back in [black neighborhoods]. The solution would be to make it better to live everywhere, so that people would not be so tempted to migrate. It will probably happen for [Cape Town and Johannesburg?] in this century, as technology advances quickly.”

Or, in other words, you propose the “separate but equal” solution.

It lines the pockets of everyone who purchases better, cheaper goods and has more money left over for other stuff. Everything we buy that's made abroad is made abroad because doing it that way makes it better or cheaper or both.

And if you married an African, should you be allowed to live together in the same country? Her parents? Grand-parents?

> The flow of capital and education to poor countries would increase their productivity (and thus wages and standard of living) while the increased supply of labor decreases prices in rich countries, and the new equilibrium would be strictly better for both sides.

The fact that it isn't zero-sum doesn't mean that it's always strictly better for both sides. There are many policies that will give +4 to a foreign citizen at the cost of -2 to a US citizen, which is not zero sum but is still not to the advantage of the US.

> (This is an issue where economists are in almost universal agreement, and almost universally opposed by politicians and the general public).

Not an unexpected result, since economists are generally utilitarians more than nationalists and politicians the opposite.

The way you describe it, it sounds like you believe there are no negative consequences for anyone, anywhere, ever.

> If all the worlds borders were open then economies would move to the average.

That's not the case. That premise would only hold true in a bad simulation - ie one that ignored or removed thousands of factors. Back in actuality, those thousands of factors would still ensure drastic differences between countries. Equilibrium in regards to this premise is inherently impossible. Any amount of friction alone guarantees it, and there would be vast amounts of friction.

One other simple reference proves this point dramatically as well: governance.

The equilibrium theory of borders is equivalent to the perfect market pricing theory in equity markets. Both assume and require omniscience along with perfect action at all times by all actors. All possible knowledge must be perfectly distributed to all actors involved at all times, and then digested and acted on identically at exactly the same time. It collapses into comedy extremely quickly if you try to actually pursue the thought concept.

> That's not the case. That premise would only hold true in a bad simulation - ie one that ignored or removed thousands of factors. Back in actuality, those thousands of factors would still ensure drastic differences between countries. Equilibrium in regards to this premise is inherently impossible. Any amount of friction alone guarantees it, and there would be vast amounts of friction.

The conclusion that all countries with open borders would become exactly average is clearly wrong, but the principle that allowing unrestricted immigration will tend to move your country closer to the average still holds.

And is actually worse than that, because the people in an above average position within their own countries would have less incentive to emigrate. If you open your borders to countries with exactly the same population composition but your country has more economic mobility or better social assistance programs then those things will disproportionately attract economically weak immigrants.

This is highly confusing to political partisans because the two issues contradict party lines in the US. Democrats generally favor both reducing immigration restrictions and increasing social assistance and mobility, but the two policies don't mesh well.

Is there a real world, factually verifiable example of this ever happening in the past, or is this an untested theory?

Maybe the word is unethical, then?

It's quite depressing to see how the concepts of country, nationality, borders are still widely accepted without questioning.

Yes. If you want to amuse yourself, take a look at the "I Want Out" section of Reddit. How quickly people begin to question when they realize how restrictive the situation really is. It all seems rational until you discover you can't spend more than three months in your girlfriend's country, or accept that job offer if some committee hasn't placed it in the "skilled labor" column.

Especially when human rights are only bestowed on citizens by a government and denied for others just for not being born in their country. Seems hypocritical to me.

Yes, and you could make an argument that using blood or place of birth - as opposed to ideology - actually hinders people who have similar values from living together in the same parts of the world.

> There is no logic at all behind any of it.

It isn't logic, it's politics. Immigrants who become citizens get the vote. It should be self-evident that the ideological composition of the voters controls what our laws and constitution will be and is therefore very important to the existing people.

Even outside of general ideological differences, you can imagine the trouble if antagonistic governments were free to send a million of their people to vote in strategic districts in swing states.

...while I'm ranting: citizenship in return for military service, honorary citizenship, citizenship from owning property, and outright purchase of citizenship. Can anyone think of more? I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Birth tourism, or the politically freighted 'anchor baby'?


And I missed a few common ones ...by marriage ...by continuous residence ...political asylum! Duh!

While a lot of people think what Trump said is extremely out of what United State legislators stand for, current Senate and President passed and signed HR-158[1] which bans European citizens that visited Iran, Syria and Iraq in past 5 years from getting into United States without a visa. This is going to apply to pretty much any dual citizen of Europe that visit their families back home in every couple of years.

Obviously asking for someone's religion is the most stupid way of filtering terrorist, when governments decide to do something like that they discriminate based on place of origin.

[1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/158

IANAL, but the bill sounds like it doesn't ban Europeans to enter the country, but waives the right to travel without a visa. It might be possible to enter U.S. by acquiring a visa.

This is correct. I am a European who visited Iran. Before that, I could travel to the U.S. with the ESTA (14$). Now I must ask for a B2 tourist visa, which is valid for 10 years and is multi-entry - but it costs ~160$ and it requires me to have an interview with the consul to prove that I am not going to just not fly back to my country and immigrate into the US permanently.

Believing in a religion is largely a choice though some arguments could be made for conditioning from childhood meaning it isn't but being a member of a religion definitely isn't a choice in large parts of the world.

"Conditioning" is a very mild way of putting it. The parents' beliefs are almost always presented as fact to the child, from a very very tender age.

It'd be better off to quiz people on their beliefs. Perhaps if someone answers they think honour killings are barbaric (to play off what Trudeau said), then they don't get a visa. But I suppose that'd be as much of a joke as the previous questions they asked "are you a member of a terrorist organisation". OTOH maybe it's not such a big stretch to say that visa-issuing officers should review for cultural acceptability in addition to financial capability, likelihood-of-return and all the other criteria they use.

And then it'd leak information. People would say "hey, wait, how did you get a visa if it asks serious questions". Unless there's an exemption for lying in that group, then the group might go after them. (IIRC, certain religious groups in Europe were big on quizzing others regarding baptism. Some answerers viewed lying incredibly poorly, to the point of answering truthfully even if it mean they'd be killed.)

I'm not sure religion is so much of a choice. I grew up in a household of a particular religion that my parents imposed and even though I don't really identify what that religion anymore it was a very strong influence on me until my mid-20s. Even when I didn't identify with it internally, I still said i was a ______. IMO, It's extremely hard to find an alternative and maybe even harder for one to say they're agnostic or atheist.

And the fact that you were able to separate from said religion is probably made easier by the society you live in. In some cultures, the religion is synonymous with cultural identity, if not at least a central part of it.

very true!

This goes both ways:

(1) a ban on a country is usually there for a temporary reason of leverage on leaders/system of government on which the citizens may have a varying degree of control through different means.

(2) However, a ban on a religion which has many movements (some of them infighting), and radically opposed views and some crazies, on which the majority have no control or relationship with whatsoever could seem more wrong.

(1) is trading on an existing system of unethical attributes (2) is creating an additional one.

Let's not forget that the USA was founded by people who were looking for religious freedom and peace from prosecution.

A test on specific beliefs is much more appropriate and actually already implemented on immigration forms (e.g. questions on polygamy).

But wasn't Trump not only suggesting a visa-requirement, but a complete ban? Seems very different.

That's what he originally said and all I could find on his website[1]. I think in other interviews he's backed off, first with "of course there'd be exceptions". Which would be obvious: otherwise you'd prevent heads-of-state visiting. Then he changed it to "obviously this is about countries related to terrorism" which can probably be seen as just an extension of current policy, a backtrack from his earlier position. Which seems typical: stay something "outrageous" back off to something more reasonable.

1: Side note: How utterly obnoxious is CloudFlare? They feel they need to present a CAPTCHA to visitors (at least out of US?) to prevent a DDoS of read-only material. Lame.

I wonder how countries choose which colour to use for their passports. Black and purple seem to be the rarest colours, with generally no light colour (other than bright red) being used.

The general trend that is visible is that Islamic states tend to prefer green, Communist or former Communist countries prefer red, European nations prefer burgundy and the rest have mostly gone with shades of blue.


> European nations prefer burgundy

Minor bit of trivia: European Union countries[0], with a few exceptions, all use a standardized passport format[1]. The burgundy red color is specified. (This was one of the reasons given by the "Leave" campaign in the run up to the Brexit vote, that the United Kingdom would be able to return to a blue cover color.)

0 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passports_of_the_European_Unio...

1 - http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:...

Did you know Cuba has agreements with individual countries; like for example, for Serbs it's one of the few hassle free countries to travel to.

Just opening this page makes me feel like I'm Jason Bourne and a swat team is about to crash through my window. I closed the tab.

Chinese passport holders require visa for Hong Kong even though they are visa-free 145 countries!

And visiting Iran is visa-free for 186 countries!

This is fascinating but I found myself frustrated by the lack of an obvious key to the acronyms used in the rankings

It would be nice if they explained what these scores mean. Or am I missing something?

The pope has a cool passport.

The ranking isnt true the strian passport hasnt 32 visa free country

nationality is segregation

You forgot pizza

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12111086 and marked it off-topic.

As someone who grew up 100km from Italy.

US pizza sucks. Easily one of the things I miss most about home.

Also good sausages.

America is a huge place. There's a pizzeria in San Francisco, California, run by a man who has won the Naples pizza contest 12 times.

I second this. I moved temporarily to the Bay Area from Australia. The USA has a reputation for awful food internationally but ... well, the truth is more complicated. It has terrible food and amazing food depending on where you go. As my old supervisor would say, the US has a higher standard deviation in food quality than most countries do.

I've lost 8kg (15 pounds) since returning to Australia, but just thinking about deep dish pizza makes my mouth water. Its really something special. I try to go to Homeroom, Zacharies and Fentons every time I visit.

I think it's just the scale of the place. California is larger than Italy, in terms of area, although less populous. If you were going to say that the US has awful food, you can't cherry-pick Italy as your standard. It would only be fair if you lumped Italy together with Estonia and Ireland and took the average.

I've travelled a lot and I've never been to any place where there wasn't good food. The desire to cook and eat delicious food is universal, and the practice exists wherever there is enough wealth to support it.


That was amazing pizza indeed. Loved it.

On average though ...

I find it interesting they rate a passport's "power" by where you can go away to, instead of by where you go home to.

They rate passports, not citizenships.

People get passports to go away, not the opposite.

In post-Soviet countries we have 2 types of passports: one internal which is used as id card and second is for traveling. So for most people there, passport is like a synonym for citizenship.

Interesting, I'm from Hungary (pretty sure that counts as post-Soviet), and I've never heard of such a thing.

I'm also pretty sure that the internal passports are 100% irrelevant to this site and one would get confused by this only if they really, really wanted to.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact