Passport holders from the States can visit some 174 countries without applying for a visa first. VisaDB, a handy new website in its prototype phase, allows travelers to easily browse all the available options. Just plug in the U.S. as your country of residence, and the tool will tell you which countries you can visit visa-free in a given region, along with some helpful data about expenses.
The tool is ingenious, as it’ll save us lots of time researching visa requirements on the U.S. State Department site when planning trips. But playing around with the tool also has a sad side: It highlights the stark inequality between passports from around the world.
Travelers from the U.S., for example, can visit 45 countries in Europe without a visa, according to VisaDB. Tell the site you’re from Afghanistan, however, and your options quickly dwindle to one part of one country.
Trip planning as a U.S. traveler:
Trip planning as an Afghan traveler:
The site serves as another reminder that not all passports are created equal, neither in power nor price. Even a trip to Svalbard and Jan Mayen, the one Norwegian area that Afghan travelers can visit “visa-free,” would still likely require obtaining a visa, as getting there involves passing through Europe’s Schengen Area.
If you’re using VisaDB to plan a trip anytime soon, the site recommends cross-checking its information with a U.S. Embassy, as it’s still in development.
Here’s to not taking travel for granted.