This is an interesting web site, and it got me thinking. It’s called the “Passport Index.” It ranks the world’s passports by “power”:
The “most powerful” are not too surprising. That ranking is due to how many countries you can visit as a tourist on that passport without needing to obtain a visa. In the case of the U.K. and the U.S., their passport holders (as of today) may enter 147 countries without needing to apply for a visa.
The “least powerful?” South Sudan’s. A South Sudanese passport will get you entry into only 28 countries (again, as of today) without a visa.
A visa is a stamp (although not always a physical one any longer) that a government will place in your passport indicating you have permission to enter that country. It is usually obtained at a diplomatic mission of that country on your home soil before you travel. If you turn up at that country’s border without one, you will probably be refused entry.
The U.S. demands a tourist visa of nationals of “Country A” until feels it can “trust” most visitors from that country to depart from the U.S. within the terms of the tourist visa. The visa requirement seeks to weed out and stop those looking to enter the U.S. aiming to work and/or with no intention of leaving. (What has been shorthand-termed “illegal immigration,” a phrase that is coming under fire from some quarters lately.) A major determinant the U.S. uses to eliminate the visa requirement is after “97 percent” of tourist visa requests from a country are being approved routinely by U.S. consular officials, visas are no longer deemed necessary and that country will be considered for the “Visa Waiver Program.”
We’ve heard of steps recently to impose visas to “shut the door” on terrorists. That approach isn’t new, of course. Sometimes visas are imposed for brief periods during a time of crisis.
I remember needing a French visa in 1988 after the French government had suddenly imposed a visa requirement in mid-1986. After several Paris bombings organized by Algerian terrorists, everyone outside of France’s immediate neighbors in Europe were required to obtain one before arriving in France. The visa requirement was lifted in 1989.
Hope you have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂