Have you ever wished you had another country’s passport? For some nationals, they have the right to get working holiday visas all over the world. They can pick up and move to a country, and have the right to live there. Your passport has a big effect on how well received you’ll be in another country, in the eyes of their immigration officials.
The Economist had a chart called The Wanderers. A law firm named Henley & Partners compiled a list of twenty countries, ranking them according to easily their nationals could enter foreign nations without needing a visa. Makes you realize how much of that is beyond an individual’s control. If your government happens to be oppressive or unfriendly to immigrants, it’s the humble citizens who get punished with paperwork and exorbitant visa fees when they go abroad.
The first time I experienced this was when I taught English in China. My boss, who was from Iceland, observed that Europeans paid much lower China visa fees than Americans. That was when I learned about “reciprocity,” which basically translates as tit-for-tat. If America charges high visa fees on foreigners, than those countries will return the favor when Americans visit. Have any of you dealt with this?
The most extraordinary story I heard was from a Hong Kong girl. She has passports for Hong Kong, China, the United Kingdom, and Canada! That’s ultimate mobility, right there.
What are your experiences of dealing with passports and visas? Please share your stories in the comments.