Travelling on a Burmese passport has always been a bit of a nuisance, given all the extra hurdles one has to jump through when applying for visas, or passing through immigration — but this is a nuisance most people can live with.
The “Supplemental Forms for High-Risk Countries” and the “Additional Processing Fees for Security Clearance” lost their novelty value long ago, and so this week’s dose of special treatment came as an amusing diversion.
While trying to buy foreign currency for some upcoming travel via an online currency-exchange website I was surprised to find that they didn’t have “Myanmar” listed in the drop-down menu for “Passport type”.
I called Customer Service, and was told that there were Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade restrictions on trading with “certain individuals from certain countries”. Breaching these restrictions would have the company face “severe penalties”. As the company “could not verify the identity of individual customers” their policy is to “do no business with Myanmar citizens”.