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Posts Tagged ‘tourist visa’

On a visit to Rome this month, at the airport:

  • They immediately stamped my Canadian passport, and I could stay for up to 90 days without a tourist visa
  • No questioning
  • They didn’t mention anything about liquids
  • No full body scan
  • Customs declaration appears to work on the honour system

Returning to Canada through the U.S., at JFK airport:

  • Required to take off my shoes
  • Required to separately x-ray my laptop
  • Required to put 100 mL or less of liquids in a plastic re-sealable bag
  • Questioned for a minute about customs and what my intentions were
  • Passport stamped for connecting flight only

This, despite Canada and the U.S. sharing the longest undefended land border in the world, and being parties to NAFTA, the largest trade union in the world as of 2010, and most Canadians being exempt from US-VISIT fingerprinting and photographing procedures, unlike U.S. green card holders.

Indeed, the U.S. was attacked on 9/11 and Italy and Canada weren’t. However, the disparity in security checks for Canadians at the airport in Italy’s largest city versus the United States is vast.

This, despite Italy having been a member of the Iraq War coalition, all three countries with troops in Afghanistan, and Italy’s longest-serving and current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, having been the most pro-Bush foreign leader aside from UK prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

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North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is often referred to in the mass media as “The Hermit Kingdom.” There is much justification for that designation.

It came as a surprise to me that you can actually obtain a tourist visa for North Korea. I first read an article in 2007 about how there are a few Canadians who visit each year on a tourist visa.

That is unlike Saudi Arabia, for instance.¬†From visahq.com, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not issue tourist visas.” There is the irony that you can get a tourist visa to visit an “Axis of Evil” country, as branded by the George W. Bush administration, yet can’t get one to visit a designated ally.

The travel advisories issued by the Canadian government, which has among the best relations with most nations of the world, North Korea has the second-lowest travel risk, with 22 countries having a higher level of risk.

The countries with an “avoid all essential travel” advisory are: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

The countries with an “avoid all travel” advisory are: Afghanistan, Chad, Guinea, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

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The 27 European Union member countries aren’t united in their tourist visa requirements.

I noticed the Czech Republic and the Netherlands requires a tourist visa for Canadian passport holders, whereas the other 25 EU-member countries don’t.

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