Photo: Yes Theory/YouTube

Watch: This Egyptian Youtuber's Stressful Journey to Get a Passport Might Make You Cry

by Morgane Croissant Nov 18, 2021

Passport privilege is real. If you are the lucky owner of a US passport, you can visit 102 countries visa-free, but if you happen to own a “weak passport” the range of destinations you can travel to without having to apply for entry is much more limited.

Egyptian passport owners, like YouTuber Ammar from the channel Yes Theory, are only permitted to visit 14 countries without a visa. Meaning that if you want to travel the world as part of your lifestyle or your job, you’ll spend vast amounts of time and money filling out visa applications and going through stressful moments at customs.

For Ammar, being a traveler has an extra layer of complication. As an Egyptian male between the ages of 18 and 30, he is obligated to partake in the country’s military service for a maximum of 36 months. So, to avoid being conscripted, Ammar left his home country and his family behind to travel and continue his work on YouTube. When he left, he knew he couldn’t go back to Egypt for seven years (until he reached 30 years old) or he would be obliged to enter the army.

Staying away from his family and his culture for so many years took its toll on Ammar. And the instability of his living situation created a lot of anxiety. Ammar’s solution was to become a citizen of another country that has a “strong passport” that would allow him to go back home to visit his loved ones and travel the world more freely.

There is a range of countries who sell citizenships, and if you have enough cash in the bank, you can get yourself a second passport fairly easily. Ammar, with the financial and emotional support of his friends and co-workers at Yes Theory, got himself citizenship from Saint Kits and Nevis, a country composed of two Caribbean islands, whose people can travel to 83 countries visa-free. It cost him $150,000.

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