If you copy and paste the above link into your browser, it will take you to a site that ranks passports. It indicates the number of countries the passport holder can enter without a visa, visa on arrival and/or if you need to arrange the visa before entering a country.
When I first started this post I was only going to post the stamps and visas in my passport. Then I thought about the reality of passports for different countries. I did not know much at all about this before working overseas. My wife is from the Dominican Republic. With her passport she can travel visa free or get a visa on arrival in 48 countries. The other 150 or so she must apply for. I, with a USA passport can do the same in 81 countries. There are other countries that have even “better” passports and some terrible. Belgium, Finland, the UK and others score 113, while Iraq and Afghanistan score 27 and 28.
Unfortunately, this disparity is incredibly unfair and has life altering implications. One can apply for a visa, but also easily get rejected. One can be separated from their family or denied educational opportunities. If you look at the countries that have the ability to move around freely, it is easy to come to the conclusion that there is powerful systemic economic and racial discrimination in place. The countries that can move around easily are white and/or wealthy. There are about 40 highly favored countries. The countries in places like Africa, Latin America and much of Asia are highly restricted to travel internationally and you will also note that the people of these areas have dark skin. My wife of 8.5 years falls into this category.
It was a traumatic thing for me to learn. We were married in the Dominican Republic, but then learned that she couldn’t even pass through an American airport to join me in Qatar. We found a route through Spain, but she was denied boarding the plane. I lost 4,000 dollars! In fact they made an error. So whenever we have travelled we have often picked countries she could travel to. Other times, she has to apply for a visa which costs a fair amount. You have to provide evidence of bank statements, health insurance, flights and lodging. Yet, she could still be denied entry. Another time, we had paid for a week long trip with flights, lodging, etcétera to Italy (my wife’s dream trip) and she was denied boarding due to a visa issue. She told me to go anyway but it was heartbreaking. People with good passports don’t experience this. The cost of even applying for a visa is another way to discriminate further. To me it is a violation of human rights.
The most difficult and expensive visas I have had to apply for were probably India and China. The borders I was treated most poorly at (not counting my own country which can be unpleasant)are Armenia, Iran and India. I find it short sighted to make it difficult and expensive for tourists to visit your country.
One very negative thing about having am Américan passport is that Eritrea and the USA are the only countries that tax their citizens’ income even when not living there. So I have been paying income taxes for nine years even though I don’t live there. You also have to report all of your foreign bank accounts and more. The ironic thing is Américans think they are free.