Power Passport

We all know that there is nothing fair about where in the world you are born. Some of us are born in countries with peace and economic prosperity, while others happens to start their lives in poverty and in the midst of conflict, without us having anything to do with this ourselves. The same is true for our passports. While some of us have the luck of holding passports with which we can enter most countries without a visa, others have to spend long hours waiting at embassies only to find out that they needed an additional document to apply and have to come back another day. When I lived in Moldova, my friends who wanted to visit countries like Sweden, which’s embassies in Bucharest covered both Romania and Moldova, first had to apply for a visa to Romania through what was at the time a highly arbitrary system, and then travel to Bucharest to apply for the visa and come back and pick it up a week later. An almost Kafkaesque process!

I am one of those born with luck. For decades, Hemleys & Partners have published the Visa Restriction Index and as every year, Sweden came out on the top also in the 2017 ranking. A slip from 2014, when the Swedish passport topped the index, but second only to Germany. The Passport Index in their 2017 Global Passport Power Rank confirmed the ranking and apparently, I can travel to 158 countries without a visa. Not bad! Tomorrow, I’m however heading to an embassy in a first of what I suspect will be several visits to apply for a tourist visa. I am so excited that I will get to visit this country in a few weeks that I am more than happy to spend some time at their embassy here in DC. Which country it is? I won’t reveal it yet, but given that it’s a country that I need a visa to, I guess I have now narrowed it down to about 50 countries with this post…

Passport stamps

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