Join 3,421 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


What countries (other than North Korea) don't allow citizens to leave?
December 23, 2008 5:57 AM   Subscribe

What countries (other than North Korea) don't allow citizens to leave?

I have tried googling for countries that don't allow citizens to leave, or countries that forbid leaving, or countries that don't allow emigration, but no luck so far.

I am curious, what other countries besides North Korea violate such a basic human right? Are there any?
posted by LaszloKv to Law & Government (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cubans are not permitted to travel to another country without a formal invitation and a promise for a safe return to Cuba. The last I heard, they are not permitted to travel alone.
posted by Fairchild at 6:16 AM on December 23, 2008


Complience, that's a bit of a deliberate misreading of the question - the OP is not asking which sovereign states don't permit completely free exit and entry (all of them, yes, although within the Schengen zone in Europe you can move about freely by land without showing any travel documentation). The OP is asking which sovereign states do not allow their citizens to travel or have contact with the outside world at all, where the concept of having an identity/travel document available to most of the citizenry is not permitted.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:21 AM on December 23, 2008


Sorry, I guess I should specify my question to what countries forbid emigration.
posted by LaszloKv at 6:21 AM on December 23, 2008


complience, before the passport laws went into effect, I crossed between Canada and the US by crossing a bridge (and paying $.50 to a turnstile to return to the US) by Niagara Falls. No armed guards prevented me from leaving, though there was a guy with a gun behind the guy asking me why I wanted to come *in* to their country.

Not sure where *you* live, but I'd be royally pissed if heavily armed people demanded money from me to leave the US.

Anyway, what about China? It's not that they don't allow people to leave at all, but the government appears to have to do paperwork to permit you to leave for either personal or business reasons.
posted by olinerd at 6:25 AM on December 23, 2008


This Wiki article about Freedom of Movement mentions Saudi Arabia as a country that requires citizens to apply for an 'exit visa' in order to leave the country.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:27 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and this bit of the same article mentions exit restrictions in numerous countries, including Myanmar, Syria and Tibet, normally aimed at political dissidents.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:31 AM on December 23, 2008


complience, you must use your powers to be willfully obtuse for good, not evil.

I am pretty sure Iran is a country where you need an exit visa issued by the government to leave. (At least if you are an Iranian national.)
posted by chunking express at 6:48 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


[A couple way-distracting-from-the-point comments removed. Please see asker's followup if you're not clear on what the question is.]
posted by cortex at 7:04 AM on December 23, 2008


This Wiki article about Freedom of Movement mentions Saudi Arabia as a country that requires citizens to apply for an 'exit visa' in order to leave the country.

I think you misread - it requires foreign residents to obtain an exit visa, but not Saudi citizens.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:07 AM on December 23, 2008


India - if you have not graduated from a 3/4 year college. You can get a passport, but it is stamped with an ECR - Emmigration Check Required. Which means, you won't be allowed to to leave the country without an interview with an emmigration officer.

College grads get an ECNR stamp in their passport (emmigration check not required) and can leave without any hassles.

I think this is to prevent Indians from being used as cheap labor overseas, since at one point, almost any other currency had a much higher purchasing power than the Indian Rupee.
posted by Arthur Dent at 9:07 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't equate "having to get an exit visa" with "You can't leave." China might require an exit visa, but that didn't stop 40 million of them from traveling outside the country last year.

Other than that I don't really have any information to add to the original question. You might add 'refugee' to your Google searches. I would bet that any country that has a lot of refugees has pretty limited emigration.
posted by Ookseer at 1:15 PM on December 23, 2008


I wouldn't equate "having to get an exit visa" with "You can't leave." China might require an exit visa, but that didn't stop 40 million of them from traveling outside the country last year.

Fair play, but that's only just over 3% of the population. How many folks were turned down for exit visas, or don't even consider foreign travel an option?

I think the common thread in limitation of citizens movement for reasons other than criminal conviction is repressive government. That said, it would appear that North Korea is the only true 'no-one enters, no-one leaves' (except for government business and picking up iPods for Kim Jong Il) type country.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:36 AM on December 24, 2008


« Older Question about functions. Pro...   |  Electricity theft. This is par... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.