"If you don't like the hoops here go somewhere else where you like the hoops."
Such a childish reaction... But at the same time sad and loathsome and obnoxious too. This American is supposing that there are places where I would like "hoops." And he himself would like hoops I suppose!
And I'm sorry to say that he is so ignorant! I have never had to jump hoops to go to America. In fact, I find America to be pretty decent with visas, granting it for 10 years unlike the months or weeks that they do here for Schengen.
He keeps repeating he has this friend who has worked for years for the U.S. State Department processing visas in foreign embassies telling him all kinds of stories... I said “Let me tell you something you probably will be shocked to learn,” and went on to explain.
In my experience (which I guess you are aware is immense!), US is one of the best and easiest countries to get a visa. At least for decent folks like myself. I have graduated from an American College in İstanbul, the best school in Turkey. When I started travelling, I was not interested in seeing America at all. But as I had many friends studying in the States, they decided to hold a separate 10th year reunion over there. I need an excuse to go someplace. So I applied. I only asked for a couple of weeks and was so pleasantly surprised to see a 10 year visa. Very well...
When I ran out of pages in my passport and had to renew it, I thought they'd ask me to go over there again and get another visa or process the same one again on the new passport for a fee. Nopes. They said I could use the old visa in the old passport. No need to renew. Another very well...
When it expired, they did not even ask for any papers. I just went to the embassy, had a two-minute chat and got my visa. Then I got married and my surname was changed. I again thought they would ask me to go there with documents of marriage certificates and name changes etc. Nopes. They said it was fine, I could use the same visa. As long as the personal data matched, no problem. Another very well... To be honest, when I took the plane next time, I was expecting to encounter trouble at the immigration control even though I had the assurance of the embassy. Not one question. They are just so good at their work.
When I wanted to take a cargo ship from China to LA, I was told that they may not let me in the States even though I had a valid visa just because of the way I was travelling. When we docked, immigration officers came on board. True, they asked all kinds of questions. Even about how I did my laundry while backpacking. Which I happily answered. They asked where I would stay. I said "I don't know." They asked how long I would stay. I said "I don't know." It depended on how fast I would get the Mexican visa which I was told would normally take a month. They asked where I would go, what I would do. I said "I don't know. I will talk, look around and decide." They took me in. Sorry to disappoint you. Not in jail. Into their country. Then Mexico gave me the visa on the spot and I was out of America the next day!
Of course this is my case. I am sure many decent people have had trouble with and even had their very valid American visa applications rejected.
I have a friend who is a professor at one of the best universities in İstanbul. He was involved in a project which was funded by the EU itself and required him to be travelling several times in the course of a couple of years. So he asked for a long-term visa. He was given 2 weeks. 2 weeks for God's sake. And this is a prominent person with a family established in Turkey. He quit the project. That's what we are talking about when we talk about hoops and visa formalities that do nothing but hassle people.
Now I have EU citizenship. My origin covers the Muslim countries that do not like or want the "Westerners." Plus, I married someone born in a privileged spot in the world, my EU passport covers the rest. In fact, with my dual passports, I am pretty much covered all over the world. I don't have to jump through so many hoops again. But people do not seem to understand this is not about me, this is not about America or the EU either. What I'm talking about is the injustice of parcelling the world and discriminating people according to where they were born and according to their means. I've started this topic long before there was the immigration crisis. I started it because I experienced the injustice firsthand. The immigration debate just provided me the opportunity to sharpen my arguments.
There are Indians, born in India but living in America with an American citizenship. They have trouble going into their born land to see their dying mothers. Seriously... Is this right or human or just to you? Seriously... Read a bit and maybe travel a bit talking to other people in the world.
“Each country has its own security concerns and threats and therefore may implement different Visa requirements. I respect that. It is rational.”
Ah so you are claiming that asking for hotel reservations as a visa requirement serve to protect countries and is very rational? And you claim that it is worth the cost of time and energy of both the applicant and the officer reviewing the application? We probably have a different concept of rational just as we certainly do not agree on the fact that issuing visas is a “good” practice.
“Yes, some countries may have implemented difficult rules, but so what? Why the anger? Is there a desire somewhere to make it easier to smuggle people or bombs into another country but have been thwarted by Visa restrictions? I hope not.”
Ah so you thought that I was saying some countries implemented difficult rules and not irrational rules? You seem to have a very suspicious mind coming up with a scenario of my desire to smuggle people or bombs into another country and having been thwarted by Visa restrictions. Be careful, watching too many spy movies and being too much into conspiracy theories may cause mental damage.
“I suspect you and I are in no position to dictate what other countries should or should not do.”
Ah so you interpreted what I said as if I saw myself in a position to dictate other countries what to do? I cannot even do that with my own government. I just suspect any human being on Earth is in a position and has a right and even an obligation to question any practice in the world.