Written by Sai Teja.
Visa is an authorization granted by nations to a foreigner which allows travellers to enter their border for a certain period of time.
But getting a visa is always not that easy. The challenges include visiting embassies countless times, filling out intense paperwork, negotiating with ambassadors and begging consul generals to stamp your passport. All these steps are much harder than it sounds.
You can consider yourself lucky if you have passports of any developed nations: for example, if you have a Japanese passport, you can travel 191 countries or Singapore,190 countries, all of them visa-free or visa on arrival!
If you want to know more about how many countries you can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival with your nation’s passport, you can check details here: https://www.henleypassportindex.com/passport
Although you might have a strong passport, some countries can still be out of borders for you or may demand your patience for getting a visa, especially the places which are not considered to be safe for travellers or if there is an ongoing political turmoil going on in that region. Now, let’s get right into the list.
Right now, most of the countries has listed Syria as a “no-go zone”. It is a well-known fact that Syria has suffered a lot due to its civil wars.
It all started with the Arab spring and changed the whole situation in the Middle East. In Syria, Dictator Bashar al Assad started a gruesome civil war against its own people, as a result, the country has collapsed and the terrorist group ISIS has occupied its most important cities such as Raqqa and Allepo. However, in 2015, ISIS was defeated but the conflict is still on.
Although nowadays, it is much easier travelling to Syria, a couple of years ago that was totally not the case. Getting a visa to Syria will set you back a touch of cash, as you would prefer taking the help from a travel company based in the country. Otherwise, it is better to stay within Damascus and Aleppo unless you have a guide.
Yemen isn’t a traditional place to go to as a tourist. In fact, it’s not really “allowed” to visit. You need to pull some serious strings to get the visa.
Ever since the Arab Spring happened in 2011, Yemen has been in a constant state of chaos and nobody has been left in charge. Terrorist groups are currently controlling large parts of the city, it’s essentially lawless and there’s no safety net. After all, Yemen is undergoing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with three-quarters of the population needing urgent aid and protection
As a result, all visas must be issued prior to travel as airport visas are not available. The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen typically issues visas that are valid for 30 days. Visas could also be extended for another 30 days by applying with the Passport and Immigration Authority in Yemen. The Embassy currently won’t issue visas for a tourist to visit Yemen.
Turkmenistan is the least known and visited country in Asia but in fact, it is actually one of the richest countries due to its high natural gas reserves, but it is totally isolated from the outside world and is referred to as North Korea of Central Asia.
A travel company will need to map out your itinerary and have a guide pick you up within the airport or on the border. In order for you to get that far, they must also provide you with a letter of invitation (LOI) that enables you to get your visa on arrival. The problem is that only the Ministry of Tourism can issue such letters. Unfortunately, 20-30 per cent of tourists will not get this LOI, and neither the travel company nor you will be informed about why.
4. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is very difficult, almost impossible to enter as a casual traveller. Getting a tourist visa to Saudi Arabia is no easy matter unless you are a Muslim. The country is so wealthy that it doesn’t need tourism to support its economy, which may be part of the reason behind why it’s so hard to enter. You also shouldn’t expect to be welcomed into this country if you’ve got stamps from Israel in your passport.
But right now, the country is issuing tourist visas to many nations but still only for certain events.
Somalia has essentially been the most dangerous country in the world for the last three decades. Random acts of terror, organized crime and political instability have caused Somalia to be virtually off the limits for tourists and anyone who dares to visit must take severe precautions. But the situation is slowly changing over the last few months.
The country isn’t hard to travel to if you’re happy to go to Somaliland or Puntland, two self-declared states. Neither is however acknowledged by any United Nations, but are still formally a part of Somalia.
Lybia is almost impossible for any tourists to visit because it is not issuing a tourist visa right now. Ever since the dictator, Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power, the civil war has been still ongoing and if you are lucky enough to visit the country, you can only visit the capital and the largest city called Tripoli, along with few other places on the Northern coast
Libya is currently off-limits for tourists, but there is a loophole, though. Sherwestravel can get you in on a business visa, and provide you with a guide and driver. But it won’t come cheap.
Eritrea remains one of the least visited countries in the world and is referred to as North Korea of Africa due to its isolation from the outside world and certainly doesn’t make it easy for you to get a visa. The Eritrean visa is one of the world’s most difficult to attain.
On top of the visa issues, so as to travel anywhere outside the capital – Asmara, or in order to attend any national events, it is necessary to have an individual permit for each person visiting. These permits aren’t the easiest to obtain due to the country’s bureaucracy and they are often rejected.
In spite of these hardships. there are many travellers who have visited every single country in the world. Therefore, it is possible to travel to any country but it takes a lot of effort and it depends on what passport you hold and how much time and money you are willing to spend.
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Sai Teja is a contributor at The Strong Traveller. He is a content writer and passionate about writing and telling stories. He strongly believes that hard work and love for the profession can get you anywhere you want. Being a Computer Science graduate hasn’t stopped him from doing what he loves the most.