As this article is in English, it is not too much of a leap to assume that you the reader are either a citizen of an English speaking country (the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) or the native of a country that has English as an almost compulsory second language (Holland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany etc.)
As this article is featured on the very fine travel website BreakingTravelNews.com, it is also not too much of a jump to assume that you A) enjoy travelling and B) probably do so at least once every year.
Here’s the thing; would you be so keen to travel, and do so with such excitement, if every time you wanted or needed to travel you had to apply visas for yourself and any family members travelling with you? You may have already been through the visa procedure if you’ve travelled to an unusual or exotic location.
However we Western, Australasian or US citizens’ visa applications are relatively straightforward and painless. This is not the case if you are someone from Africa or the Middle East.
Different Citizenship – Different Rules
Imagine having to repeat that process every time you left the country? Would it make you feel a little like a second class citizen, especially once you became aware that the same rules didn’t apply every nation?
A person’s citizenship is a funny thing (unless of course one is born into a war-torn country or a land full of tyranny and oppression, and then one’s citizenship is not funny at all, it’s a nightmare).
We are born into a land by the sheer luck of wherever our parents have chosen to be when they have us. If we are born in Western Europe, Australasia or North America, we are blessed to be born into citizenships that are bountiful and beneficial. If we are born into foreign countries but our parents are from any of the above locations, we will be able to claim dual citizenship and still be entitled to the passport and citizenship of the country of our parents.
However, if we are born into an African, Asian, or Middle Eastern family - even a country which is comparatively free, liberal and secular – when we are old enough to travel, we will discover that our passports don’t get us very far without visas.
Not All Passports Are Equal
Online second citizenship specialists 2ndPassports.com have reported a near 200% increase in applicants for second passports to E.U countries from people from Africa, Asia and the Middle East since 2014. Yes, you read that right – applicants for second passports; these are high net-worth individuals who can afford to acquire a second passport by virtue of a perfectly legal citizenship by investment program. These investments range from less than $200,000 to millions. Sounds crazy? Not for them it isn’t!
For example, did you know that the average E.U passport will grant its holder access to 170+ countries? Citizens of Germany for example have access to some 177 countries worldwide visa-free, while those of the UK can travel to some 175 countries without visa application. The US passport doesn’t perform too badly either, with 174 countries listed as visa-free.
Compare these totals with the passports of Saudi Arabia (69 countries visa-free), India (52), China (50) and Nigeria (45) and you can see why so many wealthy individuals from these nations who can safely pass stringent background checks are more than willing pay the necessary investment fees needed to acquire a passport which is going to radically change the way they can travel, do business and make money.
Cherish Your Citizenship!
So the next time you are about to launch into a tirade about how bad your life is or how terrible your government is, or how awful things are in your country, just remember:
The chances are you are actually a citizen of an amazing, civilization. One which grants you the freedom to live as you choose within your own country. A country who is so respected internationally that its passport grants you the right to visit a multitude of other nations without having to first go through the humiliation and rigmarole of visa application.
So next time you reach for that trusty, precious passport of yours, just stop and think for a second as to just why it’s so trusty and so precious, and to how lucky you are to have it!