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Inequality Of Passport And Visa

EU gave the rights to Ukraine refugees to live in EU for three years

According to UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency), over 2 million refugees are estimated to have fled to neighboring countries are rising since the invasion into Ukraine by Russia on 24 February. It is warned that the number of refugees could rise to 4 million in the coming weeks and months.

To outreach in this situation, the EU grant “Ukrainian nationals and permanent residents the right to live, work, access healthcare, housing, and education immediately for up to one year, without the requirement to go through lengthy asylum procedures.” Plus, this “could be extended for a further two years” (The Guardian, Jennifer Rankin, 2 Mar 2022). This is estimated to require billions and more EU funds.

Plus, though this can be applied only for Ukrainian nationals and permanent residents, there are more people who have lived there, including Africans or Asians, mainly who are students. Therefore, authorities in Brussels claim it should allow all people, regardless of nationality or ethnicity. 



One reason that Africans or Asians are specified above is because most of their passports do not allow them to visit the Schengen Area countries without visa. There are currently 60 countries which can enter the Schengen Area countries without visa, but most of African and Asian countries are not included.

To apply for Schengen Visa, even it is for tourists which are within 90 days, people are required loads of documents, such as visa application form, photos, health insurance, proof of financial means, evidence of employment status, travel itinerary, and so on (Schengen visa info).

The cost of applying for a visa also increases the inequality of access to the visa application. The cost of applying for a visa is solid in a single uniform way, though the average wage varies in every country. In real-cost term, while “Western Northern and Southern Europeans hardly have to work, Central Asians have to work over nine days, Southern Asians have to work almost two weeks and Sub-Saharan Africans almost 19 days to apply for a visa, on average” (Ettore and Emanuel, 2020). Work visas are more expensive than tourist visas. In some countries, you may need to pay for insurance as well. For example, in the UK, if you want to stay there for over 6 months, you need to pay £470 for one year for national health insurance.

To get a visa, time, money, credit, and patience are required. The inequality of visa is not only about the visa for the Schengen Area countries, but for every country. According to Vis Index, while Japanese passport (the strongest) holders can travel 196 countries without a visa, the Afghanistan passport (the weakest) holders can travel only 24 countries without a visa. This inequality of passport is also the inequality of opportunities. 



According to Cover Trip, the purpose of a passport is to show that the person is a legal citizen of a particular nation of origin. It can be used as a form of legitimate identity. Every country has every rule to get the passport depending on their laws. Most passports have the information of name, photos, birth date, nation of origin and a signature.

Visa is a document that makes it possible for people to access to other countries. It is a supplement to the passport. Visa shows the specific purpose of staying, and a certain time frame.

Both passport and visa have the same purpose which protects the nations from terrorist or illegal migrants.

Looking back on history, the first passport was made to make it possible to move across countries without causing a war. Then, after the first world war, when too many newcomers went into the US, the US made a new passport to identify those immigrants and control the influx of immigrants (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC).

To protect nations, if a person has a criminal record, or does not meet the requirements of vaccination and health insurance coverage, it is highly likely possible that their visa applications are denied. 



Passports and visas protect nations. Because of those passports and visas application process and officers can look through people’s background or criminal records, it can prevent illegal immigrants or terrorists come into the country. However, as we look through above, those processes and the cost of applying the inequality of global mobility. Some countries and the rich can apply and get visas easier than other countries or the poor.

Plus, as the current situation of the Ukraine crisis shows, for the people who need to flee from the country, those processes could be a huge barrier. They may find it is difficult to get the documents that are required in applying, due to the troubled terrain or unsupported/hostile governments. The nation’s safety will be secured by passports or visas, but the refugees’ security can be in danger because of them.

While with Ukraine refugees, the EU open its arms and made new rules to let those refugees flee into EU. They are also planning to establish new visa schemes.

They said that by the end of 2022, all visitors that currently do not need a visa to enter Europe will be expected to apply for an ETIAS VISA. ETIAS VISA is for visiting 26 countries within the Schengen Zone, within 90 days. Currently, there are 60 countries that can apply for an ETIAS visa waiver (which had not been required to apply for Visa before), and it will be available to more countries in the future.

There are both strengths and weaknesses in passports and visas. As the world is becoming more globalized in a variety of areas and the trans-boundary movements are increasing, it is time to think whether we should strengthen or weaken border protection. 




The guardians. Jennifer Rankin.  Wed 2 Mar 2022. Ukraine refugees are given right to live in EU for three years 

The guardians. Emmanuel Akinwotu and Weronika Strzyżyńska. Mon 28 Feb 2022. Nigeria condemns treatment of Africans trying to flee Ukraine 

2013 – 2021. SchengenVisaInfo.com 

EUI ROBER SCHUMAN CENER. Ettore Recchi, Emanuel DeutschmannApril 15th, 2020. Inequality at the Border: How Visa Costs Penalize Citizens of Poor World Regions 

2022. VisaIndex.com 

2022. Travel Insurance Review Inc 

Travel. PINES, G., 2017. A History of the Passport. 2022 VisaGuide.World 


Harpaz, Y., 2021. Conspicuous Mobility: The Status Dimensions of the Global Passport Hierarchy. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 697(1), pp.32-48.

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