The Dying Art Of The Visa: A Personal History
Poor Phileas Fogg. In his fictitious journey around the world in eighty days, Jules Verne's globetrotting hero may have saved a woman from ritual immolation, been mistaken for an arch-criminal and survived an attack by Sioux warriors. But he also had to undergo the bothersome, mundane exercise of attaining a visa, whether upon arrival in Suez or in San Francisco.
It's an experience seasoned international travellers know all too well. Our wanderlust compels us to spend many wasteful hours at embassies and consulates, filling out mind-numbingly bureaucratic forms (sometimes in triplicate) and shelling out hundreds of dollars on visa applications.
But all that is fast changing. More countries are beginning to issue visas electronically or upon arrival, while others are doing away with short-term visas completely in order to encourage tourism and business travel.