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Old Jun 7, 12, 8:29 am   #1
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Visa applications that ask for religious affiliation

How do you deal with applications for visas to countries where the application includes a requirement to fill the field for "religion"? [In many such cases, even stating "other" involves a demand for further specification; and the idea of "not going" isn't really a practical solution for all such situations.]

When it comes to countries with an official state religion, their asking for religious disposition (inclusive of agnosticism or atheism) to be disclosed on a visa application is not as much of a surprise as when religious identity is demanded by governments of countries without a state religion. Requiring such disclosure seems to run counter to the principal of personal religious disposition (including agnosticism or atheism) being a personal matter rather than a matter to be discussed with government employees, more so in countries that claim to be secular and/or without an official state religion.

As a practical matter, such identification also can open a door to possible problems when: (a) families may include persons of different religious dispositions; and/or (b) applications are being made on behalf of children, family members or otherwise; and/or (c) religious affiliation disclosure may result in religious-based railroading/sidelining when it comes to family reunification, child custody, inheritance/estate planning/probate, death and/or health matters (in the host country but perhaps also in the home country).
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Old Jun 7, 12, 9:31 am   #2
 
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under "religion", I write "yes". Never been questioned on it.
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Old Jun 7, 12, 9:43 am   #3
 
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under "religion", I write "yes". Never been questioned on it.
I like that - I think I'll write "No"
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Old Jun 7, 12, 11:17 am   #4
 
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I like that - I think I'll write "No"
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Old Jun 7, 12, 11:24 am   #5
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It may be the case that some bureaucrat (or statistician) had a lot of time on their hands, and thought it would be nice to have this info.
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Old Jun 7, 12, 11:27 am   #6
 
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I usually write "Confuscianism" despite it being more of an ethical and philosophical idea than a religion. Never been questioned about it.
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Old Jun 7, 12, 11:29 am   #7
 
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I enter Pastafarian, never been questioned.
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Old Jun 7, 12, 12:23 pm   #8
 
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Zen Baptist...

... I think about going to church.
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Old Jun 7, 12, 12:35 pm   #9
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It may be the case that some bureaucrat (or statistician) had a lot of time on their hands, and thought it would be nice to have this info.
If only that were the case.

I rest assured that for those destinations where this is a part of the visa application form for business and/or tourist visitors, the demand for the information is generally not arising out of a bureaucrat's (or statistician's) benevolent interest in generating data about the demographic background of tourists in the aggregate. Rather it is more about the following: "security" paranoia. That and figuring out when/if/how (not) to grant a visa (if any) to the applicant -- a determination made based on an individual applicant's ethnic and/or religious affiliation(s) -- and to figure out who to target/tail upon arrival in the country (even if granted a visa).

Ironically perhaps, at least one such host country is more likely to discriminate against foreign citizen visa applicants with host country indigenous ethnic background(s) than to discriminate against foreign citizen applicants with no host country indigenous ethnic background even when it is clear that those foreigners of host country indigenous ethnic backgrounds are no more likely to violate the law once in the host country than others.

For example, one such country that has forms that include a religion field on visa applications: India. Natural-born US citizens of exclusively Indian ethnic origins (or perceived to be of such ethnic backgrounds) but applying for an Indian visa are more likely to be given problems (or additional document handover requirements) by the Indian government when applying for an Indian visa than the ethnic Polish-American spouse of such an Indian-American applicant.
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Old Jun 7, 12, 2:51 pm   #10
 
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I enter Pastafarian, never been questioned.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 2:45 am   #11
 
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Visa applications for Saudi Arabia require your religion. I put done "none". It was crossed out by the officials and the word "christian" inserted.
If you want the visa don't argue.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 4:13 am   #12
 
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Visa applications for Saudi Arabia require your religion. I put done "none". It was crossed out by the officials and the word "christian" inserted.
If you want the visa don't argue.
I had exactly the same experience with Saudi a few years ago.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 9:08 am   #13
 
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I wonder what they would say if I put AmillennialPaedobaptismPredestinarian
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Old Jun 8, 12, 9:40 am   #14
 
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I wonder what they would say if I put AmillennialPaedobaptismPredestinarian
Either "Denied" or you would be arrested upon entering the country.

When going to some places, you simply get with the program and write what you are expected to write or you don't go. It's as simple as that.

In the case of Saudi Arabia, westeners are expected to be good Christians, so we would put that as our religion, no matter what you believe in.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 10:28 am   #15
 
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In the case of Saudi Arabia, westeners are expected to be good Christians, so we would put that as our religion, no matter what you believe in.
if I write "Muslim", would it be changed to "Christian" based on where I live ?
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