Having an Armenian passport and travelling extensively through my life made me very familiar with what the author describes: the months-long waits, the fees, the scramble for documents, the uncertainty, the inability to travel without planning months in advance, the queues, the unpleasant experiences at airports, etc...
Eventually I managed to become an Australian permanent resident, which grants the right to travel to New Zealand without a visa. Some time after, a sudden opportunity came up, and I landed at Auckland airport, having booked my tickets the night before. I handed my completely blank, recently renewed, Armenian passport to the immigration agent (permanent residency is technically a type of visa, there is no "green card", and Australian visas are electronic, not placed as labels in a passport unless requested). He scanned it, stamped it, and handed it back to me, welcoming me to NZ. Took all of 20 seconds.
That whole experience was completely surreal for me, not because it was so different, but because it was so mundane. There was nothing to suggest that this process might be different for some people. Everything about it screamed "this is normal", while my mind screamed the opposite.
That was my first-hand lesson that unless you've ever lacked a certain privilege, it is near-impossible to be innately aware of it. Sure, others may try to educate you and make you aware, but it doesn't convey just how profound of an impact a privilege can have on the lives of those who lack it.
Some people take this freedom for granted because they were born with it and can't imagine it was ever different.
Most are arguing against free settlement and access to social services and voting rights by anyone else in the EU. This is a hugely different thing.
Furthermore, the UK would under any system allow quite a number of EU citizens to come and work, so long as they meet some kind of criteria consistent with the needs of the UK - this is rational.
Spain benefits quite tremendously from the 'near full time' retirees coming there, so long as they don't have to foot the bill for healthcare (which they don't) and it would be in Spain's interest to have quite a large number of Britons coming there to retire. Britons aren't looking for jobs or voting rights, or to have children in the economy, just for domicile for a couple of decades.
> criteria consistent with the needs of the UK
So, would you be imposing the existing rest-of-world spousal visa requirements on people who are already here with their EU spouses? If the answer is yes, do you accept that you're going to force a significant number of Brits to either lose their family or emigrate?
The existing Home Office system is already an inhumane disaster area which has no clear idea what "the needs of the UK" are.
> don't have to foot the bill for healthcare (which they don't)
Isn't this dependent on the EHIC system? What's happening with that?
Aren't you uncomfortable with the idea that being domiciled somewhere for a couple of decades wouldn't come with voting rights?
Are you asking 'how the rest of the world' does it?
Or how the UK handles non-EU visitors today that don't require visas?
Because I don't think it's a concern.
"ren't you uncomfortable with the idea that being domiciled somewhere for a couple of decades wouldn't come with voting rights?"
Not at all. Especially because 'a vote' won't hardly make a difference. What matters is the integrity of the regime in question, and Spain is 'good enough'.
If Spain wants to give local/municipal voting rights to those on long-term retirement visas, then that's fine - point being, it's the decision of the Spaniards, not some ruthless adherence to ideology such as 'freedom of movement', the harsh interpretation of which is tearing the EU apart and turning politics across the continent upside down.
Just don’t try bringing a bit of fruit across the border into NZ, seriously. Multiple sharp objects in carry on gets a raised eyebrow but a piece of fruit will ruin your week.
Countries that provide “reciprocal” visa-free travel to Australians should cry foul about it.
Not really true. I had a girlfriend with a "weak" passport. I have a British passport. I'm very aware of how much easier it is for me to travel and I've done nothing to deserve it. I didn't have to lack the privilege myself to understand it, though.
For example if your partner has a chronic illness, you can never say you felt their pain, but you can say you know what it's like to live with it. You felt the impact of the illness on your shared life, and you shared the emotions it caused, which are lessons that no amount of reading, listening, or watching can instill in you.
I guess what I'm saying is that it's somewhere between being a first-hand and second-hand experience, because of the notion of a "shared life".
What a revelation! Ok, people, down with all that we were doing wrong, let's take the right steps, c'mon!
It looks like you're not really familiar with the sense of desperation and powerlessness which is the normal state for citizens of many countries. This is tangential to what the parent's been saying, btw.
As an individual ("I need to get a visa and it's hard and there's nothing I can do about it") I can understand, but as a society/country? How are you powerless to change the situation?
Armenia has great desire to change its standing in the global passport rankings. However, it is under mounting military threat from neighbouring Azerbaijan. This forces Armenia to maintain very close ties to Russia, to have the assurance of their military protection. Being friends with Russia makes it difficult to also be friends with Western countries and improve one's passport rankings. Trying to sign an economic treaty with the EU can easily result in Russia withdrawing stationed troops.
Armenia requires protection, because it's a tiny landlocked mountainous country with no notable natural resources, surrounded by unfriendly and/or conflict-torn neighbours, i.e. with no reliable transport corridors. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has oil and natural gas reserves, which it's used to build a formidable offensive military force and regularly declares its intent to attack.
Would you not feel powerless in that situation?
I used Armenia as my example, because I'm familiar with the situation there. But I'm pretty sure every other disadvantaged country has its own set of near-insurmountable obstacles. I say "near-insurmountable", because each country/society works hard to constantly chip away at those obstacles, and eventually, sometimes generations later, they succeed. But in the short-term, it's hard not to feel powerless.
At best, you're powerless regarding controlling the rate of change (and the changes required could take many, many decades). At worst there's people fighting against that change, preventing it from happening in the first place.
Who exactly? People from the country of the passport holder? People from other countries?
I try to get to the root issue here. Yes, it will take time. Yes, it can take many, many years and maybe won't be relevant for you anymore (but maybe for your children), but that is not "powerless" - that is "it takes time" and "it is stressful". So, is powerless a shorthand for those things or is there something else?
That something can be political, economical, military, or social. But whatever it is most times it either takes too long to achieve, or is unreasonable. And in the end there's still no guarantee since the decision is with the "destination". Just look at all the agreements the US signed and how a single president chose to simply ignore.
There's the other option that you're part of a certain alliance that precludes you from being to nice to people in "the other" alliance. Enemies.
You might not realize it but most countries get a privilege like this because they have some negotiating power. They have something to offer. If you have nothing to offer you're SOL.
All this means that for all intents and purposes some countries and peoples are powerless as it goes.
For you it's easy to say that it's not "powerless", but how many things have you personally sacrificed knowing that the outcome will be a few decades from when you started? And if you did sacrifice a ton, keep in mind and most people aren't like that and you're an outlier. So most people _will_ feel powerless when they try to change something and that thing doesn't budge for decades even.
If by "you" you mean a single person: To really affect the society (at the scale you can feel any echo of your deeds at least in a decade or so), you need to be an activist/to be heavily into politics. This is not for everyone. Most restrain even from engaging into discussions with the nearest circle to avoid being waived off as annoying.
If by "you" you mean the actual society: Society has the power when it has a realization of a problem and determination to resolve it. If it can't see the problem or doesn't understand the roots of it, it loses its power.
All those countries listed above, none had problems before foreign interests intervened. And most of this is true for any 3rd World country.
While you and I have the opportunity to make a change in our countries the same is not true for any country, you can't work by extrapolation. Especially when all you can do is struggle to survive.
This is not true at all.
So if you want to 'solve the problem' of 'inequivalent passporting' rights ... then you can encourage citizens and groups of citizens to take the measures necessary to obtain them. Aside from 'special cases' (i.e. Palestine, Taiwan) it's a matter of intelligent organization. There is no avoiding reality.
The privileges of having Swedish nationality exist because of what other Swedes did in the past, outside of your control as a newborn Swede.
Yes, in some cases you do have somewhat of a responsibility to act in a manner that preserves the advantage.
And when you've been "privileged" with a disadvantage, you have the power to work towards eliminating it, as you said.
These are not exclusive concepts.
And if you are German you did absolutely nothing to earn the benefits of that deal except be born into it. And that's why it's described as a "privilege".
I'm Canadian, and we are the longest overstayers in the USA!
See, at least somebody cares.
The substantiation for your opinion is not substantiated.
Actually, the fact that only one nation on planet Earth 'cares' - and it's a totalitarian nightmare of of a techno-dystopia, proves my point.
I think most people consider anything that they can't point to on a map with a precision better than 1000mi as 3rd world.
A US B1/B2 Visitor Visa will generally get you into an additional dozen or so countries (sometimes more), as outlined here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_United_Stat... (see "Use for other countries" section). This list crucially includes Turkey, which the author could have used for applying for an EU visa from Istanbul instead of going home.
Not to mention that the US Visitor Visa will let you visit the US for up to 6 months at a time for the next 10 years for a reasonably modest fee of ~$200. Also unlike other countries you don't need to document a plan to visit the US and your visa remains valid even if your passport expires and you get a new passport.
Given all this, I'm not sure why the author hasn't made this (relatively) small investment.
If you're opposed to getting a US visa for ethical reason, you can also pull off the same (albeit to a lesser degree) via a Canadian/British/Schengen visitor visa (roughly in that order).
Except not everyone is lucky enough to get a 10 year visa. Applied for B1/B2 three times each time I got 1 year visa. It is a hassle to go the US embassy and beg for visa every couple of years. Also the lack of privacy in the consulate is appalling! A poor girl had to explain why she was arrested aloud everyone wating there could hear it!
Most visitors are eligible for a 10 year visa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_United_Stat... (see section "Validity period").
Unfortunately, the treatment might not be the best. In that case, you can probably apply for a Canadian/UK/Schengen visa and get 80% of the effect without much of the hassle.
As for the girl, I'm not sure why she would think she would be let back in after being arrested in the US.
As for the girl it didn’t seem like a serious crime. But anyway I am only complaining about lack of privacy at the booths. And she was not arrested in the US. She was arrested in her country of residence. She had never been to US!
Isn't countries' embassies technically the territory of that country (as opposed to the country of whichever city it's located)?
DUI isn’t a serious offence in the US, so that’s ok too.
It's definitively very serious, and can be enough to get a visa denied.
"The penalties for drunk driving vary among states and jurisdictions. It is not uncommon for the penalties to be different from county to county within any given state depending on the practices of the individual jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions require jail time and larger fines, even on a first offense. For instance, Ohio requires a mandatory 72-hour jail sentence for a first offense conviction; however, the jail time component is satisfied by attendance of the Ohio A.W.A.R.E. Program, which is a 72-hour alcohol-education program. Compared to many other countries, such as Sweden, penalties for drunk driving in the United States are considered less severe unless alcohol is involved in an incident causing injury or death of another, such DUI, DWI or OWI with Great Bodily Injury (GBI) or Vehicular Manslaughter."
"Wisconsin regards first offense drunk driving as a municipal offense, and New Jersey treats all drunk driving cases without serious injury or death as traffic violations."
FYI, a US citizen with a DUI will likely get denied entry into Canada -- you usually need to be deemed "rehabilitated" or be granted a temporary stay visa before allowed in.
This not only costs thousands of dollars – a very significant amount of money to the vast majority of Americans – but it also SEVERELY limits an individual’s ability to drive a work vehicle.
Yes, prison time is not always involved, but the financial cost of a DUI can be quite serious.
It doesn’t mean you need to drink and drive or that it will apply to you, I think I just went crazy lucky that day at the embassy.
It's up to the person in the embassy to decide. Just because you're eligible for it, doesn't mean you'll get it.
For my country, it's either 6 months or 10 years. I got a 10 year one, but a person in front of me got a six months one.
Young people are likely to stay for long, some times even tear their passports and throw away to become illegal immigrants.
Also there have been cases when elderly people from India visit the US on a B1/B2 Visa, and then work hourly wages as nannies.
I also got rejected a B1/B2 visa for 3 times (I'm holding China passport), and I finally flew and moved to U.S. after my company sponsored me a H1B visa.
The B1/B2 visa is truly the hardest visa to get for most third world people.
Even though? Or precisely because of this? Which countries those were might have mattered...
I found this stamp more of an annoyance!
My father is retired, and we are not super rich so I assume the visa officer thought they will not return once they are here. On the other hand, parents of my friends who are from the same country, and retired but kind
of super rich are coming in all the time just to have fun. Anyway, fortunately, my parents have no desire to live in US, and are living happily in their third world country.
The individual from this blog has no employer, is a Thai national that writes more fluently in english than most natives, is carrying out part of his 'bucket list' -- traveling the world, writing about it on a personal page that's been mentioned by sites such as the BBC, and providing video including time lapse/high framerate footage shot from high definition AV equipment. There's an extremely high probability that he's rather well to do.
Unfortunately statistics are not in your favor; visiting your girlfriend has a much higher chance of overstay than a regular tourist, in such cases if you can present proof that you're returning for good after a certain time that might help.
For more detailed discussion see: https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/61825/is-it-a-goo....
This will soon be the case for me - can you explain how that works? Do I just bring my old and new passports to the border and show them both?
>A US B1/B2 Visitor Visa will generally get you into an additional dozen or so countries
It can work the other way too. Due to a mix up with dates I had to get one cancelled (and a new one issued) so the original in my passport has a huge red "Cancelled without prejudice" stamp across it. The border guard at Honduras was not happy - he figured if I wasn't allowed into the USA he didn't want me in his country. It took many, many hours to explain I had another perfectly valid USA visa.
For the second, generally make sure the documents you are using for entry are valid at time of entry; in particular a lot of countries require 6 months validity on passports.
I know multiple people who reported their expiring passport as stolen, just to be able to keep it (usually for purposes of having proof that they've held certain visas in the past).
Eh, you want to watch out doing that - some countries get real suspect if you have ever reported a passport stolen in the past.
My girlfriend needed her old passport for travelling with an Interrail train ticket because the passport expired between the time of ordering the tickets (and submitting the document number) and travelling.
It's definitely a thing across various ex-Soviet countries, and likely others as well.
I've heard of people's visas getting denied because their passport would expire before the end of the visa.
It depends. A multi entry B1/B2 validity period may differ from 1 year
(Belarus, Afghanistan, etc.) to 10 years 
And, yeah, I hold a very weak passport too.
Is it even feasable to enter on B2 without a return ticket?
I have no intention of overstaying my visa or even staying longer than a month, but I would love the flexibility of traveling in the US without a deadline or plans.
In the past I've used this to great advantage by booking the outward and return legs of the journey separately. You can then cancel the return leg ticket and book a replacement later.
At the airport present tickets of both the original outward and return legs; as long as you don't overstay a visa there shouldn't be a problem. Obligatory note that this should not be taken as legal advice.
Another option is traveling on a low-cost carrier who generally sell outbound and return segments separately.
Its entirely at the discretion of the customs officer at the Airport.
Sometimes they don't give you anything more than a few weeks.
This is what would happen to you:
1. The aircrew would tell you everything is fine and totally ignored you after landing. And you got no compensation from the airline.
2. The custom control would hold you in a small black room from 12 hours to 7 days, along with all kinds of illegal immigrants.
3. Usually you would end up getting expelled to your passport's country, with it recorded on their system and even stamped on your passport, which means it will become much harder for you to apply for a visa.
In my case it was a connecting Air France flight from Paris to Mumbai that had to turn back to Charles De Gaulle after encountering problems en-route. Half the passengers were Indian nationals with either single-entry/expired Schengen visas (like me) or people passing through from North America or the UK.
The Air France staff wasn't particularly apologetic about it. They did everything that they were supposed to but half-assed it. Everyone who needed transit visas got them but we had to spend 6 very frustrating hours in line with not much communication. They sent sandwiches for passengers waiting in line but vegetarians got left out. The airline put up everyone in a hotel, with shuttles to and from the airport, but I got to the hotel at 3 AM (after waiting in line for a transit visa for so long) and the next flight was the following afternoon, so I couldn't get much sleep.
I've boycotted Air France ever since.
The entire plane of non-chinese citizens was stuck in the customs control area, while all the chinese could leave and go to a hotel for the night. Nobody spoke english and they could not provide us with any food or water (or even enough seating, people were sleeping on the ground).
We had to wait until the next morning before they cleared us into the departure terminal (where we finally got water) and then we had to wait for that to open as well so we could book flights to continue onwards.
Never flying that route again.
I've never had this happen to me and my assumption was that if you stayed airside (didn't cross immigration) you would be fine.
While taxiing to take of, the front landing gear broke so we had to go back to the Phuket airport (still airside) until another plan could be made available. Since we would not make the connection in BKK, they collected everyone's passport to stamp them with a temporary transit visa as we'd need to go to a hotel in Bangkok to wait for the next connection.
After 2-3h the new plane arrived, we flew to BKK and upon deplaning at the gate, a flight attendant came in holding a trash bag filled with all of our passport and proceeded to dump it on the floor and let the 100 or so passengers sift through the pile to find their own passport...
For example: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/transit-schengen-visa/
Mexican passport is really good for visa free travel.
I wonder whether the risk of illegal immigration outweighs the benefits of having more tourists enter your country. I would love to fly out to Europe for a couple of weeks (I can work from anywhere) but the visa process isn't worth it.
If you want to go to Western Europe, a UK Visa is a lot easier than a Schengen one and for some nationalities can get you into Ireland too.
To address one of the point in the comments about why i dont have a US Visa is that I haven't been traveling there at all and the process of getting a visa for Thais are very difficult, more so than the Schengen one. We have to fill in the longest form ever online, make an appointment and pay upfront, and then they will call me to have a one on one interview session and I have to dress properly (business attire apparently) for it just require so much effort that I decided to go to other countries instead. But even with the US Visa I won't be able to ask for a visa abroad in countries like Kazakhstan or many other countries that have embassy in Bangkok. They always ask for a proof of residency in the country I ask for the visa. :/
I'm glad it gets the conversion going though and the US is finally on the list now for me and I'll try and see if I can get 10 years. Apparently they are giving less and less of that nowadays as well.
Glad to see that I am not the only one frustrated with tough visa restrictions.
As Nancy Birdsall puts it : "No other circumstance of birth — not race, gender, ethnicity, or parental socioeconomic status — so completely determines life chances as the nation of birth, essentially because of border restrictions on the mobility of labour".
But generally, yes I agree with your point.
Not really. Someone from a developed country can get a working holiday visa to other developed countries very easily and work and travel.
People from third world countries cannot do that, ofcourse I understand why they cannot do that.
But, sure, what you say applies to young people from most developed countries.
Vancouver was lovely. Might be as close as I'll ever get....
In general, you shouldn't decide whether to go to a place or not depending on how easy the visa situation is.
The (international) airports are something out of a dystopian novel. And the experience can vary wildly. I got the coolest agent ever at Atlanta – even after my fingerprints didn't match (consulate screw up), but that did cause me to miss my connecting flight.
On another trip, the guy in NYC was apparently pissed at his job and was very rude. But all my paperwork was in order.
Then you have a connecting flight, and you have to go through security again (but not border control), because the security areas are either not big enough or not properly planned.
I have not had to give up social media passwords. Is that a new thing?
Even if travelling to a third country you need to go through immigration, customs, re-check your bags and go through security to get to your connecting flight.
You cannot check your luggae through. A process, which is possible if you fly through virtually any other country.
I wonder what this costs US carriers. For example: Flying from Zurich to Lima would be logical, connection wise, via Miami, Atlanta, or even New York. But I rather fly via Amsterdam or Madrid to save myself the hassle and the anxiety of missing my connecting flight due to innane, unnecessary procedures.
Github is listed as an example social network.
As a Brit, I don't think you will encounter any difficulty entering United States.
I went into the US twice this year, received "random" secondary screening both times, but my laptop never left my sight, and they've never asked me anything about my online activity.
Of course, I would still advise everyone to prepare themselves in case it does happen. I personally followed EFF's recommendations that they gave during 34C3: https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-9086-protecting_your_privacy_at_...
I've got no beef with US immigration other than hearing repeated horror stories over the years from moderately reputable sources.
filling the ESTA form is an "awful hassle" now?
Well the world doesn't run on free phone apps, as an entry process ESTA is one of the easiest.
And btw the Brits should start preparing for longer lines when they get into mainland Europe
Even US citizens can be strongly encouraged (with threat of detainment) to turn over their electronic devices and surrender their passwords when crossing the border -- and remember, "the border" is legally defined as any location within 100 miles of a point of entry.
> CBP agents inspected 30,200 phones and other devices during [fiscal year 2017].
Therefore, it does happen somewhat frequently.
> Officials stress that those searches represent just a tiny fraction of all arriving international travelers — .007 percent.
Indonesia is big, and the foreign embassy usually only located on the capital, Jakarta, or other big cities.
It is hard for me to travel to country that require a visa because I, first have to travel to the capital, this already took a whole day off work, and also expense of travel, then either stay in the capital (more money for rent) or go back to my home city, then back again to the embassy once its ready (another money and time spent for travel).
The problem was not the money or time, the problem is that we cant be certain whether our effort will yield result (e.g for me to travel to the capital, say 2 times and say 2 night hotel stay, would be around $300, also around 4 days taken from yearly leaves).
Considering that, I’ll just visit visa-free country for now.
But yes, that's what I did as well by starting my journey in Cambodia and worked my way from there :)
Also, they keep your passport for a few days, then send it through the mail.
I'm still lucky to live a couple hours drive from the nearest consulate. Brazil is a big country, and for many the consulate visit is a travel event in itself.
And the practicalities are also a problem: going through this visa process again with wife and kid, is the stuff nightmares are made of.
(The UK-style visa, which just took a couple questions at Heathrow, is ok. It is almost the anti-visa: you get a free pass for 6 months, and the "visa" line was no longer than Brazilian passport check upon return!)
I lost two full days on USA visa because the photo was taken at a different place to "speed up" things. I got my visa at Recife, said to be less crowded than São Paulo embassy (which was the nearest for me, "just" 600km), so I scheduled the visa interview in a business trip to a place "nearby" Recife (300km...).
I got the visa because my employer paid the ancilliary expenses back then and there was an expectation to go to USA, in the end I didn't go, and hopefully the visa renewal does not need me to go to an embassy.
I actually may go to Brazil for the first time this (northern hemisphere) winter. I will be traveling on my "other" passport since there is no need for a paid visa.
We travel other places that have decent public transportation and reasonable functioning healthcare systems.
The process was really frightening for my children. I remember my daughter had an small water bottle and an officer yelled like if she was a terrorist.
Fortunately we got a turist visa for 10 years.
In addition to requiring a considerably smaller amount of personal data and fewer travel details, Brazilian consulates in the United States don't require an interview for visa applicants from the U.S., and in fact don't even require the applicant to be present in person at all. You can, for example, give your passport to a visa expediter who can deliver it along with your visa paperwork to the consulate and pick it up for you afterward. (An example—among several—is https://www.traveldocs.com/.) So, you don't necessarily have to travel to the consulate at all.
If you do travel to the consulate, you might wait for about an hour and be asked largely pro-forma questions about the nature of your travel.
Source: I'm U.S. passport holder who's obtained three Brazilian visas and helped other Americans with their Brazilian visa applications.
It will go as low process as only verifying the foreign documents at the border against a known criminal list, and as high process as demanding an entire day at the embassy on the specific case of the US.
I've obtained three Brazilian visas and witnessed other Americans obtain them, and I've never seen anyone have to spend a full day at the consulate. In fact, we can request them through visa expediters without appearing at a consulate in person at all.
I am a Canadian resident with an Indian passport.
A 10-day trip to Iceland involved me having to submit 6 - 12 types of personal and financial documents, and showing hotel bookings for everyday of my visit.
I need to wait for 2 weeks to submit my application (in-person of course). The processing takes 2 - 6 weeks, not including the time they take to actually parcel your application to the embassy.
I am 16 days into waiting and my application tracking status is stuck on the message it showed on the first day. I contacted their support, and their response was, "Oh year we didn't update that. I don't know what stage your application is at, and this is the most information I can give you." I paid more than $100 in visa and courier fees.
I have travelled to over 15 countries and the above experience is, by far, one of the easiest processes I have been through.
Contrarily, many countries discriminate against people with a US passport. There is a hidden resort fee just for foreigners that hotels all around the world charge, but if you speak the native language, you can bypass the fee.
The French being the French, every interaction was made dramatically better so long as I made every effort to stay in their language. There was a lot of tension in the air with regards to the US, dialogue in their language always defused that. Older people were the nicest, they were always surprised I was there and were happy to see an American in Paris at that time.
I ended up taking an early morning bus the next day from Munich to Salzburg, collected by jacket and was back in Munich by lunch. We had a bungee jump happening in Innsbruck (again Austria) the next day so we crossed the border again, only to come back to Germany a day later.
So in 3 days I ended up crossing the border LEGALLY 5+ times.
This story blows the mind of friends back home. Foreign travel is a much bigger deal in many places because of the planning involved (I even know people who had to return from layover airports because they were unaware that the airport needs a visa as well even if only on a layover... Yes, that's silly, but it's happened).
As someone who carries a "weak" Indian passport (Yeah, I have a 10 year B1/B2, but honestly that's still a far cry from most decent passports w.r.t. travel), the Schengen process was astounding. I really hope more countries open up their visa restrictions to travellers.
I'm originally from Australia but living in the UK for a year or so. I went on a couple month long holiday around the UK and while I was in northern Italy, I decided it would be nice to spend a couple of days in southern Switzerland. I hopped on a local commuter train and like 40 minutes later I was in Switzerland. The next day I went on a bit of a day hike and 'accidentally' hiked back into Italy for a stunning view.
The worst still is the US visa in which you have to go for an interview like a fucking job interview in order for them to ascertain if you're fit or not. I have travelled so much around the world but hated traveling to US because of this reason (because at least with rest of the countries a travel agent can do almost 90% of the leg work).
But when I think calmly I don't blame them though because people do abuse it a lot. I think one time our entire rowing team disappeared in the US after arriving.
If you want to "buy" a first world passport, go for a passport from any EU country. Plenty of countries offer passports to investors.
The Caribbean countries may not seem “world class” to you, but passports of some of them do offer visa-free travel to Schengen and Commonwealth nations, which in itself is enough for many of these investors.
Never occurred to me that Greece would be so high in the list :-)
As a Brit I'm really hoping Jacob Rees Mogg has a few disastrous holiday visa experiences in his near future.
Quote: "Americans should be forced to apply for visas to travel to Europe, the European Parliament has said, in response to Washington refusing to allow all Europeans to travel to the States visa-free."
For me posts like the submission here are eye opening and completely new.
It so happens that NZ's regular immigration is now just an electronic gate that takes your photo, if you have certain passports (NZ, UK, Canada, Australia, US, some European countries etc). So it's already pretty close to the preferred entry schemes in the US and other countries and they're not missing much. But if you didn't have one of those lucky passports, but you did have one on the Global Entry eligibility list (which now includes India) I wonder if Global Entry would be a nice upgrade that would get you into several other countries more smoothly (effectively outsourcing the vetting process to the US, which seems kinda weird to me, but that seems to be what's happening).
As a European, that happened to me when I needed a work visa for the US (for 2 month unpaid internship, J-1 visa). Only had to wait 20 min though because I had to book an appointment via credit card for $10. And I would not say that the guys there were nice in anyways. (Whole thing cost me $500, one day of travelling and 2 month preparing the whole thing in total.)
Also waiting for a visa for 2 weeks means that your passport is tied up for those two weeks and you're unable to leave the country you're in. This could put a serious dent in the plans of any digital nomad.
That's what I believe at least. :)
For example, from what I have seen for British citizen, the process is exactly mirrored: Russians have to go through the same process to go to UK as Brits have to do to go to Russia.
Still a shame though. I must have gone through the process the author of the post mentioned at least 10 times in my life, it's not fun.
You have to do quite a bit of preparation and paper work quite early. Hefty visa price easing fees and long queues. Having a first world passport is definitely a big previlege.
I lost a 1300 USD flight once because of the flight I wanted to take to Bogota, Colombia passes through Rome and Paris. :/
While studying in the US, I once booked a flight to visit my relatives in Prague, flying into Heathrow, then flying out from Gatwick 18 hours later, leaving me with a whole day to explore London. It's supposed to be at the immigration agent's discretion, but he was happy to let me through, despite my Armenian passport.
Return leg was slightly more complicated, because the airline staff in Prague refused to check me in, since the flight was to London, and I had no UK visa. After at least half an hour of arguing, they ended up drawing up a waiver for me to sign, and let me on.
It’s just ridiculous that Americans can show up basically anywhere on earth and get waved in and we don’t extend that courtesy to others.
Both India and China have realized this - India allows an eVisa and China allows you to transit visa-free for upto 144 hours.
You can just waltz in to the Shenzhen economic zone (if you have a privileged passport).
A day trip if you stopover in Hong Kong - highly recommended to all electronics nerds.