As the holder of a Swedish passport, which is one of the best in the world I would normally be able to apply for an ESTA online and then just be able to walk through securities in the States. However, as many of you are aware I traveled to Iran earlier this year. And for that single reason I need to have a VISA to get in to the USA – even if I were only to do a stopover.
So why don’t I just get the visa?
Oh, if it only were so simple. The process is long and I did start the process of getting my visa but I didn’t have time to get it before I left Sweden for Canada from which I was planning on going to the States.
– Filled in an applicaton online
– Paid the fee of 160$ after I figured out how to do it since I couldn’t use either my visa or mastercard -_-
– Waited for the payment to be confirmed
– Booked the first available time for an interview – which was like 3 weeks forward and only a few days before I was leaving
– Went to the embassy for the interview, only to find out I was not allowed to pick it up at the embassy and had to wait for it to arrive in the mail which adds 1-2 days. Days I did not have.
So I could’ve taken the chance of giving them my passport and hoping for the best and that I’d get it in the mail a few days later, but since I had a flight to Canada which I for obvious reasons would need my passport for – I chose not to take the chance of missing my flight. Canada>USA.
Well, I just had to scratch USA off of my travel plans and have it wait for another time. You see, I don’t live in Sweden and I might not be back there until next summer. So the whole process being so long, taking about a month or even more is hard for me. Hopefully my application will stay there for a while longer so I can continue the process whenever I’m back there.
This also means I had to look at flight out of Canada that did not go through the states as I’m not even allowed to do a stopover there.
So basically, I am allowed to travel to the States as soon as I get my visa. We’ll see when that happens and I have no plans of going back to Sweden until next summer… But as a privileged Swedish passport holder thats a when and not an if.
There are many nationalities that needs to go through these processes almost every time they want to go somewhere. It is situations like this that makes me so very grateful for the passport I hold and the freedom it provides me when traveling the world. I have friends who can go through a visa application process only to be denied for the sole reason of the nationality of their passport. Not being allowed to go on vacation to Spain or England – cause they find reasons not to let you. Like finding minor mistakes or purposely misread information or simply accusing them of traveling there with the intention to stay as an illegal immigrant.
I am well aware of how privileged I am and that I am able to travel the world as freely as I do. For that I am grateful for every day. I hope that one day what nationality we hold will not matter and that we will all be seen as equals, no matter what our country passports read.