Vice Versa Visa or Passport Problemo – WIF Travel

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The World’s

Most Difficult

Countries to Visit

13,000 miles long and roughly 30 feet tall, the Great Wall of China symbolizes both the country’s military strength and its isolationism. Currently, no country has a Great Wall, but many countries are dedicated to staying isolated, often to avoid exposing their citizens to socio-cultural ideas and practices disliked by their respective governments. For various reasons, the following 10 countries may be difficult for tourists to visit.

10. Canada

Surprised? Frankly, so are we. Canada’s requirements for air travel and border crossing have been more stringent since its southern neighbor, the United States, suffered a terrorist attack in 2001. Since 2007, anyone traveling into Canada by air must have a passport. People who frequently drive across the Canadian border may obtain an enhanced driver’s license that serves in lieu of a passport. Even with stricter security measures required, Canadian customs officials have a reputation for friendliness. The stereotype of the conversational Canadian customs officer is so pervasive that Canadian comedian Rob Bebenek has a stand up routine wherein he contrasts crossing the U.S. border with crossing the Canadian border.

However, one group of people may find Canada difficult to enter. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are considered particularly serious offenses in Canada. Someone who has been convicted of more than one DUI or DWI might not be permitted to cross the border. If a conviction is at least 10 years old and carried a maximum sentence of less than 10 years, someone who has the necessary paperwork may petition for Criminal Rehabilitation. If that petition is granted, the person will be allowed to cross. Those who aren’t eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation may apply for Individual Criminal Rehabilitation, a status that is determined by the Canadian government on a case by case basis. Other options for those who are ineligible for Criminal Rehabilitation include getting a pardon or discharge of your conviction from the country where one was convicted, which must be accepted by the Canadian government, or obtaining a temporary resident permit.

9. Iran

Many cultural innovations that are now prized worldwide began in Iran. Refrigeration, postal delivery, guitars, and chess originated in the area. Tourists would be welcome to learn about the country’s culture and its history, if they didn’t have such difficulty visiting. In 2018, the United States both imposed sanctions on Iran and discontinued its nuclear deal with the nation. Those political decisions had a significant commercial impact, harming the country’s tourist industry.

Deterred by the sanctions, Americans and citizens from countries allied to the United States no longer visit Iran. However, the sanctions have especially affected domestic tourism. Seventy percent of Iran’s tourism revenue comes from Iranians traveling within the country. Fewer Iranians have sufficient money for traveling, since the sanctions are weakening the Iranian economy.

8. Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is a former Soviet bloc country that’s bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzebekistan, and Afghanistan. The Soviet bloc countries were satellite countries of the Soviet Union. Many of them were financially destabilized when the Soviet Union fell in 1991.

The revenue tourists bring is welcome in Turmenistan, but it’s a difficult country to visit. Most travelers who wish to visit must be invited by the government or fund a touring company, though tourists staying on the mainland may be granted five day visas. Social media is banned in Turkmenistan. All tourists are officially required to be accompanied by guides, who report the tourists’ movements to the government.

7. Yemen

We’ve talked about the warfare in Yemen before, and we’re mentioning it again because, sadly, Yemen is still at war. A brief history of warfare in Yemen: In 2004, the Houthis, a Shiite political and religious group, plotted to overthrow the Yemeni government. On September 21, 2014, the Houthis seized the capital city, Sana’a. Because many political and religious groups opposed the Houthis, the country began a civil war in 2015.

The civil war hasn’t ended, but it isn’t solely a war among Yemenis. Yemen’s civil war is a proxy war, a war instigated by major powers that don’t become directly involved. Iran provided weapons to the Houthis, while Saudi Arabia and the United States provided weapons to the Yemeni military. In 2019, the U.S. Congress voted to stop selling arms to the Yemeni government. Imagine: A Yemeni who was born in 2014 has never experienced peace, or a stable economy.

When the country is at peace, it is an enviable tourist attraction. Sana’a, the capital city, has been continuously inhabited for 2,500 years. For tourists who enjoy nature, Yemen would be an ideal vacation destination .Ninety percent of the reptiles in Yemen cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, tourism companies officially advise that the country is unsafe to visit due to terrorism, civil war, health risks, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

6. Angola

Angola, a large country in southwestern Africa, includes deserts and rain forests. Angola was formerly a Portuguese colony, but Portugal now depends on Angola for financial support —Angola possesses rich oil reserves. Angola has survived colonization and civil war. Now the country’s greatest threat is economic instability, caused by inflation.

In 2011, the capital city, Luanda, was the most expensive city in the world to visit. The average price of a melon at a street market was one hundred U.S. dollars. Someone who could afford to visit Luanda would still need to pay to be invited. Tourists must receive an official invitation from the government in order to visit. Anyone who requests a letter has to pay for it. If the letter arrives without a visa despite the visa having been paid for, or the visa is later denied, none of the expenses incurred can be refunded.

5. Saudi Arabia

Like Yemen, we’ve talked about the dangers of visiting Saudi Arabia. Also like Yemen, the Saudi Arabian government’s oppressive practices have since worsened. The Saudi government admitted to orchestrating the November 2018 murder of a journalist for The Washington Post, Jamal Khoshoggi. Khoshoggi, who authored articles criticizing Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, was ambushed and strangled when he entered the Turkish consulate to obtain a marriage license. His attackers chopped up his body with a bone saw.

On 2019, 36 countries signed an open letter criticizing Saudi Arabia for its human rights abuses.Negative news coverage of Saudi Arabia has negatively affected its tourism industry. The Saudi royal family is the richest family in the world, worth over one billion dollars. The economic instability exacerbated by the decrease in tourism will affect not the royal family, but the Saudi citizens. Twenty percent of the population of Saudi Arabia lives in poverty.

4. Russia

Even before U.S. special counsel investigator Robert S. Mueller confirmed that Russia interfered with the United States of America’s 2016 presidential election, sociopolitical tensions created during the Cold War were still present between the two countries. And as long as the nation remains under the thumb of its president, Vladimir Putin, that tension is likely to remain.

Russia doesn’t recognize U.S. diplomats’ authority to intervene in visa-related difficulties involving American travelers. All travelers are advised to avoid unsanitary water, unsafe medical treatments, pick-pocketing, and government surveillance.

3. Kiribati

The Pacific island of Kiribati isn’t particularly dangerous to visit. It’s just incredibly difficult to reach. Any airport travel requires a long, costly flight between islands. There are few amenities to which travelers from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe are accustomed.

However, local families are willing to accommodate guests. A tourist who requires a passport — anyone living outside of the European Union — should schedule an additional trip to Wales. The only Kiribati embassy in Europe is in Llandewi Rhydderch. But hey, we hear Wales is nice this time of year, if you’re feeling particularly ready to — eventually — make your way to Kiribati.

2. Bhutan

The Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan was closed to visitors until 1974. As of 2019, obtaining a visa costs $40. A tourist must pay $250 to the government for each day of his or her stay. The daily fee includes the provision of accommodation, transportation, food, and a guide.

Travelers from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives do not need to obtain a visa to visit Bhutan. Invited guests of the government aren’t required to pay a daily fee. The fee is intended to deter visitors, in order to protect the country’s forestry. Bhutan’s dense forests make it the only carbon negative country in the world, and federal law requires that sixty percent of the land always remain covered by trees.

1. Eritrea

Eritrea is the most difficult country in the world to visit. Formerly a colony of Italy, the northeastern African country gained independence in 1991, after a 30 year war with Ethiopia. As of 2019, Eritrea is a dictatorship. All tourists require a visa, and a visa costs $70.

Visitors aren’t permitted to use local transportation while they are in Eritrea. The only way to travel within the country is by prearranging modes of transportation with a tourist company. Anyone traveling outside of the capital city, Asmara, must receive the government’s permission to travel to each destination he or she wants to visit.


Vice Versa Visa or Passport Problemo –

WIF Travel

No Go Zone – Countries to Avoid

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10 Countries

You Should

Never Visit

Travel is a wonderful thing. It broadens your mind, it allows you to explore new horizons, and it can totally end up with you getting super-killed in the nastiest way possible. Yep, despite all you might hear about the awesome benefits you’ll get from going off the tourist track, the truth is that the tourist track is there for a reason: to stop starry-eyed dopes from getting killed. While it’s definitely possible for a seasoned traveler, war correspondent, or international super spy to visit all the following, we strongly suggest that you stay away.

 (Just some a quick note before we start. All these countries are places that would suck for a regular guy or gal to visit at the time of writing in 2017. They might be totally awesome ten years from now, so please don’t take our choices as a lifelong prohibition from visiting. Understood? Great! Then let’s begin with…)

10. Venezuela

If there was a competition for country most-likely to tip into civil war in the near future, the winner would probably be Venezuela. The Latin American socialist state boasts some of the most-spectacular natural wonders on Earth, more history than you can shake a proverbial stick at… and a president who seems hell-bent on driving his nation into the ground.

Soaring inflation has left essentials like medicine, toilet roll and food all but unaffordable. The average Venezuelan lost 19 pounds due to food shortages last year. There are rolling blackouts, paralyzing strikes, and pitched street battles in the capital, Caracas, between protestors and security forces that have killed nearly 40 in 2017 alone. And did we mention the violence? The murder rate is off the charts. As many as 28,875 people may have been homicide victims in 2015, from a population of 31.1 million. That would put modern Venezuela on a footing with Colombia at the height of its drug-fueled civil war.

The list goes on. The US State Department has a hair-raising account of mass-kidnappings, robbery with assault rifles, grenade attacks, and murderous criminal gangs targeting tourists. Despite all this, though, Venezuela’s crisis may yet be solved. If or when it is, one of the most-beautiful nations on Earth will once again be free for the rest of us to visit.

9. North Korea

Perhaps the most-isolated state, North Korea (DPRK) is also the one most-likely to disappear in a cloud of burning ash and nuclear fallout. Since coming to power after his father’s death, rogue dictator Kim Jong Un has tested 3 nuclear devices aimed at freaking out the international community. It has certainly worked. At time of writing, a war of words with the US seems in danger of spiraling into an actual war. One that could get very, very messy.

But let’s ignore all that for a second. Even if no devastating war comes, visiting the DPRK still isn’t one of the greatest ideas. The Kim regime directly profits from all outside visitors. That profit goes towards keeping a network of concentration camps in operation that the UN has called similar to Nazi Germany. Others have said they’re even worse. Crimes by one member of a family can result in everyone being interred, and for their descendants and their descendants’ descendants being worked to death. Tourism helps keep this decadent world ticking over.

Then there’s the issue of personal safety. The DPRK has a habit of arresting US citizensduring politically convenient times (editor’s note: this was written even before a US citizen was detained just this weekend), even when they haven’t committed any crimes. Given what we know about North Korean prisons, maybe it’s better to stay away altogether.

8. El Salvador

Since it overtook Honduras in 2015, El Salvador has had the highest murder rate in the entire world. The pint-sized Central American nation – roughly the size of Wales – has been a killer’s paradise for years. The murder rate in 2016 was 91 killings per 100,000, higher even than in Venezuela. The capital, San Salvador, recorded 137 homicides per 100,000. This was down from a staggering 190 in 2015. By way of comparison, the global average homicide rate is a mere 6.2. In 2015, you were over 200 times more likely to be murdered in El Salvador than you were in somewhere like Great Britain.

Interestingly, as a foreigner, you’re less likely to be targeted than a native. Most violence occurs between street gangs, and kidnappers tend to focus on snatching wealthy Salvadorians rather than gringo backpackers. Hence why we’ve put it way up here at number 8, above countries with demonstrably lower murder rates.

However, don’t let its ranking lull you into a false sense of security. Notorious street gangs like MS-13 have been known to target random buses and brutally slaughter everyone onboard, simply because the vehicle’s owner refused to pay an extortion fee.

7. Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been a basket case for so long now, it’s almost hard to believe it was once a laidback highlight of the “Hippy Trail” between London and Melbourne. Since then, it has become synonymous with bad times and brutality. Even today, 15 years after the fall of the Taliban, this Texas-sized nation of 32.5 million is still the sort of place where you don’t wanna travel without making prior funeral arrangements.

The causes are as familiar as they are depressing. Radical Islamist insurgents and mad warlords are running rampant over huge swathes of the country. The Taliban are experiencing a resurgence. Petty kidnappers are still addicted to the idea of whisking careless visitors away for ransom. In a show of strength, militants recently managed tostorm an Afghan army hospital, slaughtering nearly 40. There are suicide bombings, homicides, and general nastiness galore. Many governments advise against staying in hotels or visiting restaurants in case you end you evening messily splattered across an area the size of a football pitch.

At times, it can seem like peace will never return to Afghanistan. While we’ve no doubt things will one day settle down, that one day could be very far away indeed. Until it arrives, you’ll just have to content yourself with pictures of this tragically beautiful nation.

6. Iraq

Huge swathes of Iraq are still under the control of ISIS’s monstrous caliphate. Even in areas under Iraqi government control, they’ve got a grim track record of attacking and killing hundreds. And you better believe they target foreigners. According to the UK government, non-Iraqis living or working in Baghdad are considered “high value targets.” That means heightened risk of death, kidnapping, or even worse.

To be perfectly frank, traveling to Iraq at this time is more-or-less equivalent to just lying down in a coffin and shouting at people to bury you now. Even the stable, autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan infrequently suffers car bombings and attacks that would be massive news in almost every other country in the world, but barely raise a flicker of an eyebrow there.

 What’s especially heartbreaking about all this is that Iraq was once a paradise. The fertile marshlands between the ancient Euphrates and Tigris rivers are believed to have even been the location of the Biblical Garden of Eden. To see it now is to see a region that has fallen a long, long way.

5. Central African Republic (CAR)

OK, this is the point where we move away from ‘the countries you probably shouldn’t visit’, and move onto ‘the countries you should definitely stay away from under any circumstances’. These countries all have no consular assistance for visiting Westerners, and most government websites warn against visiting them even if you absolutely have to. The reason? Extreme violence, or the threat of extreme violence accompanied by a breakdown of the social fabric so total it’d make Iraq look like a tourist’s paradise. First on this list of terror? Central African Republic (CAR).

A nation nearly the size of Texas, CAR is home to a mere 4.9 million people, all of whom are desperate to kill one another. The population is divided between Christian and Muslim communities, both of whom take turns seizing power and trying to eliminate the other. In 2013, it was the Muslims’ turn to persecute (read: kill) the Christians. In response, the Christians formed heavily-armed ‘anti-bakala’ militias and now they’re the ones doing the persecuting. The whole situation is as volatile as a washing machine full of homebrewed nitroglycerin, and just as likely to explode at any moment.

On top of all this, CAR is an extremely-poor, nearly undeveloped country, where getting around is next to impossible and most of the country is covered in impenetrable jungle. So, if everything does ignite while you’re there, getting away is gonna be very difficult indeed.

4. South Sudan

Another country that’s helpfully close-enough in size to Texas to allow easy comparisons, South Sudan is also the world’s newest nation. In 2011, the Christian country split from Muslim Sudan, declared independence and set up a capital in Juba. The wave of optimism this generated barely lasted 24 hours. The new government quickly fractured along ethnic and tribal lines and spiraled into a civil war that killed tens of thousands. Although the war is now over, South Sudan’s peace remains so fragile that traveling there is like wrapping your body in bacon, jumping in a piranha tank, and inviting them to chew.

Militias continue to terrify the country, with rival tribes using rape as a weapon to subdue their enemies. There are natural disasters to contend with, too. A miserable famine has gripped the country since the start of the year, and tens of thousands are at risk of starvation. Things are so bad that the UN has called the famine (along with similar famines in Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria) “the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945.” Oh, and if you were to visit, there’s no guarantee you’d be able to leave. Last time a political crisis erupted, the borders were effectively sealed and the Juba airport closed, trapping visitors inside an exploding warzone.

3. Libya

Right, so we’ve now gone beyond the ‘countries you should definitely stay away from under any circumstances’ and entered a section of the list we’re gonna call ‘Jesus, you gotta be kidding me!’ Without exception, these three countries are in the grip of wars that have left no region untouched. Libya is merely the first of them. Once a sweltering north African country known for its stunning Roman ruins, Libya deposed its mad dictator in 2011 and tried to make it as a democracy. Instead, everything went to Hell.

There are at least two rival governments currently operating in the country, backed by different superpowers. An uncountable number of militias and rebel groups roam the countryside. ISIS have carved out a niche for themselves, despite heavy airstrikes against their camps. Terror attacks, skirmishes, and deadly fighting are all just facts of daily life. At least 6,000 have died in the continued fighting since 2014, on top of all those who died in the initial 2011 uprising and its aftermath. Westerners have been kidnapped or killed with impunity. Famously, this included US ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the first American ambassador killed in the line of duty in 33 years.

Luckily, though, there are signs that things may be changing in Libya for the better. On May 3, 2017, a diplomatic breakthrough was reached between the rival governments. Hopefully, things in this beleaguered nation will soon be returning to something like normalcy.

2. Yemen

To look at pictures of Yemen’s capital of old Sana’a these days is like looking at a lost tale from the Arabian Nights. Yemen has always been poor, but it used to be justifiably recognized as one of the most picturesque, dream-like places on the planet. It was a land of history, of great, jagged mountains, ancient clifftop ruins, rocky deserts and fertile valleys. Today, though, Yemen is a land of violent rebel groups, uncontrollable disorder, and Saudi airstrikes that have left thousands dead and tens of thousands hideously wounded.

A strip of land below Saudi Arabia, roughly the size of metropolitan France, Yemen has been the focus of an intense bombing campaign by its bigger neighbor since late 2015. Rather than de-escalate the civil war and bring the Islamist rebels to justice, it sent the conflict into overdrive. January 2017 saw the 10,000th victim die, and large tracts of Sana’a’s hypnotic old city reduced to dust amid heavy shelling. With no end to the conflict in sight, Yemen will likely remain off everyone’s travel list for some time to come, which may be for the best. To see the wreck this once-wonderful country has become would be enough to make any visitor’s blood boil.

1. Syria

What other country could it possibly be?

Right now, Syria is the most-dangerous place in the world. If you can go, don’t. If you need to go, don’t. If you’re already there, get out as quickly and as safely as you can. That’s the sort of place we’re talking about here. A country where basic humanity has broken down, and demons now run amok in human form, doing things too terrible for us to even write about. If Hell has a physical manifestation, then it’s probably the frontlines of Syria’s awful conflict.

Since 2011, rebels, regime forces, militias, terror groups, and insane jihadists like ISIS have been murdering one another in a humanitarian black hole that has left between 320,000 and 500,000 dead. Torture, chemical weapons, genocide… you name it, if it exists and it is awful, it can currently be found in Syria.

Perhaps the worst part is there doesn’t seem to be any easy way out. So many international actors are meddling in the Syrian conflict that an easy solution seems impossible. Russia is bombing rebel territory. Turkey is bombing Kurdish positions. France, the US and Britain are bombing ISIS, and the US recently bombed a regime airbase too. Iran and Saudi Arabia are meddling. Hezbollah and al-Qaeda are involved. Maybe one day this intractable mess will be solved, but don’t count on it happening any time soon.


No Go Zone

– Countries to Avoid