People often wonder why we, third-world passport holders, don’t travel on a whim. The answer is simple, we can’t. Our passport just doesn’t allow the type of backpacking trip that goes on for months and months around the world without a return ticket. Even with countries that are visa-free to us, we sometimes get rejected if we do not have a return or onward ticket.
Depending on the countries we are going, we are also forced to be bound to our home country because some visa applications require us to be in our home country to be able to apply. For example, I can not go traveling in Turkey for a few months and apply for a European visa in Istanbul to continue my journey to Europe. I have to come back to Thailand to get the visa and fly back to Europe which doubled the cost for us, and since we are not from a very rich country, we can only afford to do this so many time.
What Do We Get?
For most first-world passport holders, when you get a visa or exempted from one, you are often given a maximum fixed period of time you can stay in a country, say 90 days in Europe, or Thailand together with multi-entries. For us, on the other hand, is not as simple.
With a third-world passport, often times, the duration we get is considerably less than our first-world counterpart. Europe is the worst at this because they will only give us the duration and the entry that is shown on our submitted itinerary. If we apply for a Schengen visa with a 10 days itinerary involving countries in the Schengen zone, instead of getting the 90 days maximum period like other passport holders, they would only give us 11 days single entry visa, which leave us no room for flexibility.
Imagine if we want to backpack through Europe for 3 months, we would have to book 90 days of accommodation, printed them all out and submitted to the embassy every time. Even with that, we wouldn’t be able to go out of the Schengen zone, say for a small spontaneous trip to Croatia and get back into the Schengen area, because that will be considered multi-entry.
As you can see, it is not all flowers and sunshine even after we got the visa.