Racial Discrimination in International Visa Policies
International Studies Quarterly
49 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2023 Last revised: 8 Feb 2023
Date Written: December 18, 2022
Does racial discrimination persist in global mobility rights? While many states explicitly discriminated based on race far into the 20th century, contemporary migration policy-making is now putatively objective. The rise of white supremacist violence against all varieties of migrants, politician statements, and public support for restrictive policies call this supposed color blindness into question. However, existing work is not discerning because most policies appear objective. In this article, I use new data on bilateral visa waiver policies from 1973 to 2013 to show that racial diﬀerence predicts whether a country receives a visa waiver, even after accounting for its economic, political, and security context. This conditional racial discrimination has worsened since 9/11. In so doing, I provide evidence of systematic racial discrimination in international visa policy-making. The results have important implications for the study of racial inequality in the international system.
Keywords: visas, migration, race, racism
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation