A TikToker Revealed What It's Like To Travel With One Of The Worst Passports & It's 'Hard'
"I had absolutely no idea that it was this bad."
The people lucky enough to have a strong passport rarely have to think twice about travel restrictions such as visas and border control, but that's not a privilege accorded to many people in this world.
TikToker Hamza, who runs the account @unwelcometraveler, decided to share his experience travelling with what is deemed to be one of the world's worst passports, the Pakistani passport, and it will make you count your strong passport as a blessing.
Hamza decided to make a TikTok series documenting "what it's like backpacking Europe with the 4th worst passport in the world," and he shares all the things that most people might take for granted when they travel.
"I'm currently sitting in Skopje, Macedonia, airport and it was just recently made aware to me that I have the 4th worst passport in the world, which is the Pakistani passport," Hamza shared in his video.
"I had absolutely no idea that it was this bad. For the past two months, I've been backpacking across Eastern Europe, Central Europe and the Balkans."
I had no idea that my passport was this bad, now all my obstacles are starting to make sense. #passport #travel #backpacking #backpack #europe #easterneurope #pakistan #immigration #visa #hardlife #traveldiary #travelvlog
He decided he would make his TikTok account to raise awareness of how accessibility to travel and movement is highly restricted for many people around the globe, particularly because of the passport they hold.
"I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad for having a better passport… but it's pretty interesting to see the things I would have to go through that maybe you guys wouldn't have to think about," said Hamza.
TikTokers in the comment section chimed in to give their opinion on how people are treated differently based on their nationality and the passport they carry, and it seems like a lot of people sympathize with Hamza.
One user wrote, "people don't know the struggle."
Another commenter admitted they "take [their] Canadian passport for granted."
Meanwhile, others in the comment section shared their experience on how having a 'weak' passport impacted them negatively while travelling.
"My dad passed two weeks ago in Botswana. NONE of his siblings or family could go as they are in Pakistan with Pakistani passports," shared one commenter.
In a separate video, Hamza shared that he first had to pass the hurdle of securing a Schengen visa to embark on his Europe trip. The Schengen area is a zone of 26 countries without internal borders, "for the free and unrestricted movement of people," according to the official website. The Schengen visa information website has the list of countries taking part in the agreement as well as their visa specifications.
"The Schengen is a subset of the EU which, I think, has 26 countries who have all agreed to waive their internal borders, which allows free movement to other countries," Hamza explains in his video.
Although by getting the Schengen visa, Hamza could travel around all the countries in the region, it was still a "massive hassle" to get it, according to him.
Unlike other travellers who can wing their trip and make impromptu decisions and changes, people who need to apply for their Schengen visa need to plan out their trip well in advance.
The struggle of applying for a Schengen Visa - Part 1 #passport #travel #backpacking #backpack #europe #easterneurope #pakistan #immigration #visa #hardlife #traveldiary #travelvlog #schengen
According to Hamza, he had to start by going to the embassy of the main country he was planning on visiting, then be lucky enough to secure an appointment, and show up with proof of all his bookings, including the accommodations he would stay in and activities he planned on doing.
The TikToker explains that to apply, he had to fill out the application, which included "a bunch of different forms" that required various types of information.
"Then you need to submit your actual itinerary," Hamza continues. "You need to tell them what you are going to be doing every single day, so it's accounted for, with proof as well."
"So you need to confirm hotel reservations and hostel bookings to show them exactly what nights you're going to be there, but the worst part is that you also need to book your flights as well."
The flights need to show when you plan on entering the Schengen area and proof that you will also be leaving.
To top everything off, even if you book all your hotels and flights, it's still not a confirmation that your application for the visa will be accepted, and you are left with the risk of wasting all your money.
"So you have to pay more for a refundable ticket which is a premium that not a lot of people can afford," Hamza adds.
After hearing all of that, one commenter wrote, "it's a good day to be a U.S Citizen. People don't understand how easy we got it."
"Thank you so much for sharing your experience! It's really important for people to know how elitist these visa systems are," commented another user.
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