Passport inequality

My husband has a Palestinian passport, which is a real thing, I swear. I once had to have him send me a photo of it so that I could convince someone in a bar that he didn’t just have “papers,” and that Palestine does have the right to produce their own passports. Many Palestinians have Lebanese papers that states their refugee status but isn’t actually a passport. Or they have a Jordanian or Lebanese passport that states their refugee status, but also grants an actual passport. But Palestine does also issue passports!

Of course, there are different kinds of passports in this world. There are ones that make it easy to travel and there are ones that make it difficult to travel. He’s allowed to travel to 39 countries without hassle. (With my American passport I can travel to 176 countries without hassle.) Outside those 39 countries, he has to apply for a visa and cross his fingers.

I didn’t know what it meant to apply for a visa before I came here. Because I have a golden ticket passport, I just showed up in Europe and was like “hi!” Then I came here and had to get a working visa. (If I was visiting, I still could have just showed up and said “hi!”) Then I went to India, which wisely requires people to pay for visit visas, so I had to apply for a visa. Since then, I’ve also had to apply for a Zimbabwe visa and so many Turkish ones, but when I apply for a visa it’s almost always going to be approved.

My husband will not always be approved. Or it’s not worth the hassle/cost. When we lived in Turkish Cyprus, it would have been fun to cross the border into Greek Cyprus, but lol no. I could just walk on over. For him, he would have had to find an embassy (which would have meant flying back to mainland Turkey) and pay fees and probably get rejected because who gives an unemployed Palestinian a Schengen visa?

This summer we are hoping my husband can come with me to America. Which means he has to make an appointment, pay a nonrefundable fee of $160 (which is a lot to him because he is poor), gather all the documents (marriage certificate, working papers, my working papers, financial documents, invitation letter), and hope that they let him come say hi. We’re hoping they say yes, but because my husband is poor, there’s a good chance they’ll be too afraid that he’ll overstay his visa and become an illegal immigrant. He wouldn’t, but they don’t know that. And there’s little trust afforded those without the right passports.

Fingers crossed he gets it!

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6 Responses to Passport inequality

  1. Georgie says:

    Sounds like a lot of effort, my fingers are crossed! šŸ™‚

  2. Linni says:

    I’m not familiar with the American visa system, but I thought that if you and your husband are legally married, he will have an easier time going to the US because you are a citizen? Like in that show 90 Day Fiance lol? Wish you guys luck on the visa though.

    • mmarinaa says:

      Easier than if we weren’t married, definitely. But easier is a very relative term, haha. I’ve never heard of that show, but I’m guessing the fiances are from countries that are not Palestine. Plus there’s a whole sponsorship, financial element that they probably don’t discuss in detail. (I am sooo not qualified to be a financial sponsor.) This visit visa is a different thing than a fiance visa/applying for a green card, and in theory, an easier thing. We shall see, we shall see!

  3. Ruby Ronin says:

    This was also culture shock for me too when I lived in China. Chinese people also have one of the “worst” passports in the world and are only allowed to travel to a handful of countries without a visa. Now that China is becoming more wealthy it is easier for middle-class Chinese to pay outrageous sums of money to travel (like, to get a Japan or US visa I think you have to prove you have 5-10k USD in the bank, and they freeze that amount until you return?), crazy stuff like that.

    I dated a Chinese guy and brought him to the US–and boy, was it a hassle. He wasn’t rich but he had a job in Japan so it made him less of a “risk” for overstaying in the US. The embassy meeting was brutal and they asked my ex-boyfriend questions about me and my parents that I didn’t even know (how long were my parents together, what year were they born, etc etc). US is so strict.

    Anyway, good luck with your husband!!! That can be frustrating, especially considering the new administration and their view on Palestine šŸ˜¦ Crossing my fingers for you!

    • mmarinaa says:

      Yeah… I’ve heard rumors that the best way to assure that you get a visa is to have 50,000 dirhams in your account when you apply. Which is like 13,500 USD. They don’t freeze it, thankfully, but it’s still an insane amount for a visit visa! I hope it’s not actually true because even pooling accounts we do not have that amount.

      That interview sounds too brutal! I always think about how I would totally fail most of the USA’s interview processes… citizenship test? Lol nope.

  4. Lani says:

    Good luck w/ your husband’s visa to America. I know Thais have had a hard time, even when they are married to an American. I would recommend getting outside (a lawyer) help, too. Or applying again if necessary. I think the key should also be that he has something REALLY good to come back to – but again,I don’t know the process, just have heard other ppl talk about it. But he should be able to go where you go, right? I mean, you’re married!

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