Assessing Visa Costs on a Global Scale

33 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ettore Recchi

Ettore Recchi

European University Institute - Migration Policy Centre

Emanuel Deutschmann

European University Institute - Migration Policy Centre

Lorenzo Gabrielli

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - "Alessandro Faedo" Institute of Information Science and Technology (ISTI)

Nodira Kholmatova

European University Institute - Migration Policy Centre

Date Written: March 2020

Abstract

Visas are an important means for countries to regulate incoming mobility flows. Past datasets and quantitative research on visas have focused on visa waivers, ignoring the fact that visas, where demanded, can vary greatly by cost. This paper presents a novel dataset based on a manual collection of visa costs for travel between a global set of country pairs in seven different categories (tourist, work, student, family reunification, business, transit, and other). Our analyses reveal a strong global visa cost divide that raises important questions about the injustice regarding the right to travel for people located in different areas of the world. Whereas Europeans usually hardly have to work at all for travel permits, visa costs often amount to several weeks or even months of mean income in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Regression analyses show that these discriminatory practices are explained by the (lack of) economic prosperity and (flawed) state of democracy in the country of origin. This suggests that the global visa cost regime is driven by a rationale of economic and political control and exclusion rather than blatant racism. The result is a fundamentally paradoxical situation: The richer a country, the less its citizens pay for visas to go abroad (both in absolute terms and relative to their income).

Keywords: Visa costs, mobility, migration, tourism, visa waiver, network analysis

Suggested Citation

Recchi, Ettore and Deutschmann, Emanuel and Gabrielli, Lorenzo and Kholmatova, Nodira, Assessing Visa Costs on a Global Scale (March 2020). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2020/18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3630141 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3630141

Ettore Recchi (Contact Author)

European University Institute - Migration Policy Centre ( email )

Villa Malafrasca
Via Boccaccio 151
Florence, I-50133
Italy

Emanuel Deutschmann

European University Institute - Migration Policy Centre ( email )

Villa Malafrasca
Via Boccaccio 151
Florence, I-50133
Italy

Lorenzo Gabrielli

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - "Alessandro Faedo" Institute of Information Science and Technology (ISTI) ( email )

Via Giuseppe Moruzzi, 1
Pisa
Italy

Nodira Kholmatova

European University Institute - Migration Policy Centre ( email )

Villa Malafrasca
Via Boccaccio 151
Florence, I-50133
Italy

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