Ten of The World’s Hardest-To-Get Passport And What You Do To Get Them

Ten of The World’s Hardest-To-Get Passport And What You Do To Get Them

A passport is a government sanctioned identification which enables an individual to travel freely outside their country (subject to laws of other countries) and, except for few exceptions, it is an essential requirement for international travel.

For many countries, a passport alone is inadequate and must include a visa issued by the destination country. In a lot of cases, neither passport nor visas assure entry into a foreign country, which is why a country have a collection of established visa requirements to expedite the admission of citizens of other countries for work, tourism, business, study, work, retirement purposes and much more.

In countries where organized visa requirements are not the rule, getting a visa can confuse and frustrate even the well-seasoned traveller. No one likes being rejected or listening to the word ‘this visa application is denied, ‘ but we must be equally prepared for the worst and know how well to tackle them.

Reasons for Visa or passport denial in some countries:

Below is the list of reasons why passports applications are being denied or rejected;

The following is the rundown of reasons why international Passport applications are being denied or dismissed;

Missing Documents

When applying for your passport, make a checklist of the documents required to be submitted with your passport application. Carefully consider the list and make sure all the documents in order before proceeding to submit them. The most common reason for a passport denial is the failure to present the required documentation.

For instance, a passport can be denied due to the inability of an applicant to prove his/her citizenship by submitting the documents that prove so. Hence, the essential documents required for application submissions are those that show your national identity. All documents like your voter's ID card, driver's license, birth certificate and other pertinent documents should be submitted as well as the prescribed fees; otherwise, your passport application will be denied.

Clean Copies of Documents

As a part of the passport application process, the photocopies of some of your documents are needed for the process. You have to ensure your documents are clear, legible and look as much like the original as possible. The photocopied documents mustn't look too dark, contorted, smudged in ink or distorted. You can't underestimate meticulousness; you can't be lazy by overlooking minor details. Once you ensure your documents are presented well, getting a passport won't be a problem.

Signatory Issues

In the process of applying for a passport, you need to be sure that your signatures across all the documents and forms you are submitting match. If your signature is not consistent across the various forms and documents, your application could be denied.

Application Fee

This may not sound particularly noteworthy, but when we are in a hurry to put-together our application form, it's often the obvious ones that we overlook. So, when applying for a passport, make sure you pay the stipulated application fee. Rejection is usually the result of a failure to do so.

Past Conviction

A country can refuse to grant you a passport if it the issuing authority suspects that you may involve in activities that are harmful to the country. Sure, you do not intend hijacking a plane in your travel abroad, but it's important for it to be acknowledged as one of the reasons why a passport application is denied. This list would be incomplete if it were omitted.

As peculiar and unlikely as it sounds, you can be taken for some wanted criminal due to a mistake or misprint of your name. This is not an unknown occurrence; It has been known to happen in the past in other countries. So, ensure your documents are clear to avoid any confusion. Give no reason for the issuing authority to think that you are a threat to the destination country.

Criminal History

If you are currently being investigated at the time of your application, your passport is likely to be rejected. The target country could also deny you a passport if you are considered a controversial figure. If it is perceived that you have the power to tarnish or diminish the image of the government, you can be denied a passport.

They also have the right to review your application closely and deny it on the grounds of threat, if you have in the past served time in a prison for any crime.

Overdue Payment

People with debts or tax payments and outstanding loans which are past their due dates could also be denied a passport. Make sure that all your tax filings are correct and current before applying, to avoid any such issues. You should also contact your bank to check on your loans or debts status (if any) for you to make any outstanding installment. During your passport application process being free of debt is a great way to ensure you don't face any issues.

Police Check.

If your residential address conflict with the permanent address you listed in your application, it is among the many complications that could lead to rejection. This is usually the case when you just changed your address on recently. An example is if you are residing elsewhere, but cited a different locality address when you applied; then when it comes to the police address-verification process, you may face complications. This is the kind of scenario that leads to Passport denials because the police could not confirm your place of residence. For this not to happen, you need to make sure your current residential address is the same as the one you listed when you were applying. If for a reason, that is impossible, then consult the local police to get your residential address cleared.

To this end, we will examine the ten world's hardest to get passports.

They are:

  1. Sudan

The application process itself isn't very complicated in Sudan, but, applicants will have to provide a Letter of Invitation which has been duly authorized by their Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sudan. Planning is required for that letter because it could take you up to one month to get it. From 2004 to 2007, Sudan was a challenging country to get into, you hear the response that your application is being considered in Khartoum whenever you ask for a status update.

The country has a secretive and paranoid government. Involved in sponsoring a genocide against non-Arabs which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the Darfur region since 2003 and wanted by the International Criminal Court. The reason why they would be reluctant to have camera-toting tourists running around the country is very evident. When they do let you in, the number of visitors, where they can go, and what kind of photos they can take are severely restricted. These contributes to why their passports are not issued easily.

Most travel agencies in Sudan are very carefree, so getting in touch with them can be tricky. Just be ready to wait for quite some time when it comes to your Sudanese passport application.

  1. Angola

This used to be the most difficult of all the countries to visit. Their stingy passport policy perhaps reflected a widely held belief that foreign visitors only want to steal the country's diamonds and other treasurable minerals. Furthermore, Angola's government granted foreigners almost no tourist visas for years because of American support for Angolan rebels that began in 1975 and killed more than half a million people. No one has been granted a visa during the years and to get one started between 2004 and 2008 which happened by getting a passport through Angola's embassies in both Stockholm and Johannesburg, and submitting some supporting documents.

  1. India

Recently India introduced an electronic E-visa/Passport as well as its standard tourist visa. Your choice notwithstanding, you are required to fill out the application online, and it's a rather lengthy and frustrating process.

Some web browsers won't let you fill out your employment details, while others won't let you make payments due to the network issues and so on. The bank of India processes all payments made for application, and if their system is down which has been known to happen, no other options are available for you to pay for your visa, which makes application impossible for you.

Occasionally, E-Visa/Passport applications are rejected. In the event of that, you will be required to apply for a standard tourist passport at the Embassy. This option is a usually more expensive and requires you to submit your application form and a few other documents to the embassy. As well as a standard tourist visa. According to reports, sometimes you don't have the option to pay online, in this instance, fill out your employment details and note down the temporary ID numbers if future access to the application doesn't work.

  1. China

When it comes to visa applications, Chinese Embassies are getting increasingly strict. The Embassy will require an extensive list of documents including hotel booking confirmation for every night of your stay if you don't have anyone there and flights in and out of China.

China will issue you a visa without any problems if you're planning to stay for 30 days or less. But if you're visiting sensitive areas like Western China or for stays longer than 30 days, an itinerary of your trip detailing your day by day movement is required.

The implication here is that there is no extreme freedom of movement. You can also submit your application by appointment. For this, you will need a long list of documents like hotel booking confirmation, flights itinerary in and out of China and a detailed itinerary of planned outings within the country. You can estimate a processing time of about three months before your departure.

As for point of application, you can only apply in your country of citizenship or permanent residence. You can also apply from any of their passport administration centres, and you can submit the applications by appointment. Be sure to start your planning early, because the next available appointment day could be some time away.

  1. Iran

While Iran passports have never been upfront, the process is now more complicated than ever. You'll need to get an authorisation code before you start thinking about your visa application. This is gotten after a pre-approval process by Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), but the application is done by an official Iranian travel agency in Tehran, and it can take up to a month to get it.

If you are from the Canada, US or UK you'll need to hire an MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) approved agent for your journey and present their details during the application process. Upon obtaining your authorization code, you can now proceed to apply for your travelling passport. It is now an application requirement in Iran for applicants to personally apply at an Iranian Embassy and submit biometric information. That's quite a hurdle if you're living in the UK, with no Iranian Consulate in London for the time being.

Not forgetting one of the laws that all Ladies should wear a headcover in the passport photograph otherwise, your application will be rejected.

  1. Saudi Arabia

Unless you have a business travelling there, literarily, it's going to be tricky getting their passport. N7ton-Muslims, without a business visa, may find it difficult or nearly impossible to pay the oil-rich kingdom a visit.

To add further complications, Saudi Arabia along with Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates recently severed ties with Qatar, closing all air, sea and land borders to that country in the process.

Smart travelers are advised against travelling to Saudi Arabia “due to the threat of terrorist attack.” Note that you may be refused entry to Saudi Arabia even if you have a valid reason and visa to be there. This is usually the case if your passport or baggage has proof of a trip to Israel. Such evidence includes Israeli entry or exit stamps or any stickers with writing in Hebrew”. Also note that acquiring a visa, requires a local sponsor, this is an important precaution to avoid rejection of visa.

In recent times, Saudi Arabia has opened to travel and tourism and the authorities are making big in-roads to attract travellers. They have provided free stopover visas and free overnight stays as well as providing 12-month visa on arrival for all persons who hold a valid US, UK or Schengen visas. Despite all this negativity, Saudi Arabia appears on the list of the hardest passports to get.

  1. North Korea

The North Korea part of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the toughest place to get a passport. South Korea tourists are not allowed in the North; potential tourists from Israel, Americans, Japan may face difficulties too and even those that entered with whatever nationality have to be escorted about by the North Korean guides which make apply for their passport not worthwhile. It is also not unusual for visitors to be subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term confinement.

Also, worthy of note is that North Korea passport application can only be done in a few locations. One of such is Beijing, China.

  1. Russia

Russia is the country between Norway and North Korea and has a well-deserved reputation for what seems like vague administration. It is required to obtain a Letter of Invitation to Russia before you can proceed with your application. You also need to find an application center or Embassy that will process your biometric application and help you with your application form. The application form also must be issued by a travel agency that's registered with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Apart from needing an invitation from someone to visit the country, it is relevant for you to know the location you are to visit. All visa applications have to is made personally otherwise you may have to fill out a new application form and since the introduction of Biometrics, you'll also have your photographs taken and fingerprints scanned, so no agency can help you here.

Answering often-intrusive questions are often one of the issues faced. Such questions include: all educational institution attended, the name of the person or organization sponsoring the trip, current and two previous places of work. Others are the names of all the applicant's relatives in Russia, itinerary details, and many other questions that might frighten you and make you feel anxious but must be answered vividly. Failure to respond to the questions properly will end in application rejection.

  1. Azerbaijan

The country has numerous public holidays, particularly all through the late spring and summer when Embassies and a lot of the immigration organizations may be shut down sometimes, for up to a week. This can stall the process of getting a passport.

There are several passport options, the one granted by the Embassy with a processing time of about three weeks; or an electronic one issued by authorised agents on behalf of the Azeri Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has a processing time of four to six weeks. Although the electronic version takes longer, it is applied for online, so there's no need to part with valuable documents.

After applying, it is impossible to check the status or influence the processing times. So, expect to hear absolutely nothing for a relatively long time. This is a stressful thought!

  1. Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan's border remains one of the most closed-off in the world. To get a tourist visa, you must join a tour or hire an individual guide. You must also book all of your hotels in advance.

Like in the case of Iran and Russia, your tour agency or guide is required to arrange and submit a Letter of Invitation to the immigration authorities in Turkmenistan before your application is considered. The entire process takes about two or three weeks, and after that wait, the result still isn't guaranteed. If your application isn't rejected after that, you can expect your passport application to take another two weeks.

Turkmenistan ranks just ahead of Eritrea and North Korea as the third last in the world for journalistic freedom.


With the knowledge of the listed reasons for passport denial or rejections above, getting one with ease is made possible by taking into consideration the stated precautions before going to the embassies.

Always take note of the countries with the hard to get passport, and be mindful of each of their country law and orders.



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