For those of us who hold citizenship from a Nordic or Western European country, or Japan, for example, traveling is—in comparison to the citizens of many countries—a breeze.
According to the latest Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, published in July, Icelandic passports are the eighth best when it comes to avoiding paperwork and immigration roadblocks.
What the index takes into consideration is the number of countries for which a visa is needed by citizens of each country or territory.
Most people who have traveled a bit will probably have had to get a visa at some point. It’s a pain—the paperwork, the costs, the wait, the potential hassles at the airport—but pause for a moment and think about what it’s like for those who hold Sudanese, Nepalese, Eritrean, Pakistani, Somali, Iraqi or Afghani citizenship, countries which bottom out in the report? Traveling from Haiti, China, Mali, Moldova and Thailand, to name but a few countries, ain’t easy either.
I remember the first time I applied for a visa to the U.S.—the paperwork, the security questions seemed endless, but thankfully I haven’t had to apply for a visa too often.
It’s no wonder that some people wish to seek out the citizenship of certain countries—and in many cases it takes years before an individual is able to apply for the citizenship of a certain country (seven in Iceland—less if you’re in a relationship with an Icelandic citizen, in case you’re wondering). Today, there are even companies, including the one which put together the abovementioned report, which help ‘plan’ your residency or citizenship.
Hopefully, those wanting to visit Iceland won’t come up against too many barriers. The list of nationalities for which a visa to Iceland is not required is available on the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration’s website (while Icelanders can visit the website of the Ministry of the Interior for advice on visa requirements when traveling abroad).
Zoë Robert – firstname.lastname@example.org