Andrew Henderson of nomad capitalist always says “go where you’re treated best” and I totally agree with him. However, as a third world national or in my case as a Nigerian, it’s near impossible to do so. Of the 190 countries in the world, Nigerians can only visit 45 countries either visa free or by attaining a visa on arrival and most of these countries honour the visa agreements at their discretion. This means that I can’t go where i’m treated best even if I wanted to and even if I could, as a Nigerian I however, won’t be treated best in most places in the world and sadly, not even in my own country.

With countries like the United States recently adding Nigeria to its list of banned countries, this makes it even harder to travel especially as a digital nomad. The average Nigerian has had a minimum of 3 visa denials, personally I’ve had up to 7 visa denials during my 2 year nomadic journey and of course this affects your outlook on the world and your visa journey is never ending…..

So many factors come into play as to why the movement of third country nationals is restricted like economic situation of their country, worldwide reputation, security risks, visa compliance history of the travellers, demographics, race etc.

A lot of people from third world countries are not taken seriously by the immigration of most countries in the world and just like with Nigeria, this is mainly because of the epileptic economic situation of the country, with most people living below the poverty line and actively seeking a way out. Most advanced or first world countries automatically assume any Nigerian trying to visit their country will skip their visa and run away to never be found again.

Also, a lot of third world nationals complicate the already fragile situation by being desperate to escape their harsh reality and so when they are granted a visa, they violate the visa policies of the country by either exceeding their authorised stay, residing illegally or getting involved in crime and prostitution as they can’t land a legal job due to a lack of proper immigration papers. Therefore, these select few have ruined the reputation of their nationality and so anyone else who plans to visit the country legally and in the correct way, gets treated like they already committed a crime.

There’s this constant feeling of not being wanted anywhere and it affects your self-esteem subconsciously

Some of the problems with having a restricted passport are:

  1. You’re always judged by a certain stereotype whenever people hear your nationality.
  2. Immigration authorities at the airport in first world countries, interrogate you thoroughly and unlike with other nationalities, they are more willing to exercise their right to deport you if they feel like it, even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
  3. There’s this constant feeling of not being wanted anywhere and it affects your self-esteem subconsciously.
  4. Visa applications are endless and could take a chunk of your finances with visa fees ranging between $40 -$1500 depending on your visa type and country.
  5. You have no freedom of movement and a constant fearful feeling of being stuck.
  6. You’re constantly reminded that you’re from a “shithole” country and albeit true, your opinion about the world is often not validated.

Of course it sucks to be judged constantly because of the colour of your skin and passport but the bitter truth is that most of us from third world countries do not even like our own countries. The daily quality of life is at either extremes; either extremely poor or excessively wealthy and very few people find themselves in the middle.

No one wants to live or be from a country with a failed government, lawless people, lack of security, electricity, infrastructure and an overall chaotic, high-stress environment, but we can’t choose the life we’re born into, therefore its our responsibility wherever we go as third world nationals, to represent our name and nationality in the best way possible so we can be treated best by the people that truly get to know us.

In a bid to go where you’re treated best, getting a visa to the place you decide on is the next step and there are a few things you can do to minimise visa denials and rejections and i’ll discuss this in my next post. Thanks for reading!

Photo by Agus Dietrich on Unsplash

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is based solely on my personal thoughts and experiences and should not be considered as legal advice. Five foot nomad is not liable for any misrepresentation or misinterpretation of any and all posts on its website.