I spent half of my time since last week to apply for entry visa to visit several countries. I may hold the most lame passport in the world, as I must apply for entry visa every time I want to travel. Well, this was not the case when I was still based in Singapore since my passport can enter any ASEAN countries, which I was supporting at that time, without visa. But now I'm covering Europe, Middle East and Africa. And every assignment outside Dubai forces me to deal with the lengthy procedures to get the visa, visa, and visa.
So this is my current situation: I'm running out of passport pages despite the fact that I just renewed it on mid 2007. I have only 3 pages left and I still need to apply for 2 more entry visas to enter 2 countries during the next couple of months. It's 44 pages in total. And I haven't traveled outside the country since I moved to Dubai early this year. This means I spent 2.5 pages in average every month within one and half year.
When I looked at my passport closely, I can see that I'm running out of pages because I have so many entry visas that normally take the whole one page. So far I have entry visa for US, Japan, Australia, Schengen/Europe (two times), Africa, Saudi (for umrah), Turkey, two pages for Singapore Employment Pass, UAE work permit and visa to Taiwan. Those have already consumed about one third of my passport! Not to mention some countries who don't like to put the immigration stamp in order. So one page may contain only maximum 4 stamps (it means one visit to a country: 1 to go out from home base, 1 to enter the country, 1 to exit the country, and 1 to go back to home base) due to the habit of some officers in the border to stamp randomly and consume the pages unnecessary.
Now at this hour, 2 hours past midnight, during the weekend in Dubai, when I'm still awake for no reason, I can't help my mind to start wondering: why on earth we need the entry visa to enter one country? They said, to ensure only eligible person can enter the country. Okay, but I was able to get a visa to US, it means I was consider "eligible" by US government, and yet I still need to apply for entry visa for another countries? Why can't we have a single check in the beginning that can be used by every government in this world?
Aren't we all connected already? Aren't our profiles available and accessible from anywhere? Don't we have a 'bar code' behind our neck that can be scanned to identify us, and contain the information about our history hence can define the eligibility to enter any countries? What about the conspiracy theory that states the government is watching everyone? That the government has the database of every human being in the planet?
And why we need to define if someone is eligible and permitted to enter the country? Because we are afraid that people will move around? There are so many security checks in the country border. But I can't stop laughing when one of my customer who has offices in two countries that have been in conflict for many years. It is so difficult for an employee in one country to get a visa to go to the other country for a business meeting, and vice versa. The customer then decided to use Cisco TelePresence to overcome the situation. They can have the meeting as many as they want, in 1:1 scale and real time, without any hassle to get the visa just for physical visit.
We don't move physically anymore. But we roam easily to any country over the Internet. Physically the person stays in his spot, but all the data and information are flying around crossing the borders.
I'm dreaming about a world without entry visa. Better yet, a world without borders. Where everyone can physically visit any spot in this planet without any restriction.
So one world, one nation? Or let's simply make it a world with much easier procedure to enter any country.
I guess I'd better sleep now.