Santa’s Visa Situation

Katie Smith, December 20, 2017

Santa’s Past and ‘Present’

Santa Claus claims multiple nationalities. Some of the earliest records of Santa come from fourth-century Greece and Turkey where Santa is listed under the name of Saint Nicholas and similar Dutch stories of Sinterklaas suggest Santa’s further association with the Netherlands.

There are also hints of the Germanic God Wodan as another alias of the Santa of the past, however more recent popular culture places Santa as currently residing between his two jolly residences of the North Pole and Finland’s Lapland (think of the frequent flyer miles)!

Elves in the EU

With origin stories, historic and more recent links to various European countries we can safely assume that Santa and his elves are all EU nationals with passports and the rights to work in any country in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland without a work permit.

However, what about countries outside the EU? How does Santa get the job done in Canada or the United States for example? Both countries are big Santa fans so it stands to reason that there must be a method for the man in red to cross the border?

Carols in Canada

Back in 2013 Canada’s government laid claim to portions of the Arctic sea region and during the process issued Santa Claus with a passport and citizenship rights to Canada, therefore in recent years at least Santa’s commute to the land of maple syrup is as simple as a sleigh ride.

Santa’s Canadian passport also has the effect of opening doors stateside. Canada has special agreements with United States to ensure citizens of each country can travel easily between both territories; Canada and the US both welcome Santa with festive lights and carolling every year!

Mince pies in The Middle East

It is also relatively easy for Santa to swing by The Middle East on his yearly world trip. By stopping at Dubai’s immigration department for a mince pie, Santa’s EU passport can be stamped with a multiple entry 90-days visit visa that's valid for 6 months from the date of issue.

Santa may reason that 90 days is longer than required for his gift delivery service - traditionally completed in only one night. Using his Canadian passport would reduce the visa to 30 days free of charge (still more than enough time to deliver presents)!

Rudolph in Russia!

Assuming Santa holds Canadian/EU passports he will need to apply for a visa in order to complete his Russian deliveries. The best options seem to be either a 30 day tourist visa or a transit visa if the period in Russia exceeds 24 hours or a traveller needs to change airports -although Santa isn’t utilising airports he will be flying in Russian airspace via his reindeer.

The tourist visa assumes Santa will not be working…Although Santa only receives reasonable expenses in the form of mince pies or cookies and milk during deliveries, perhaps his courier service could be technically be considered business? Therefore a 24 hour transit visa may be deemed more appropriate…

Jingle Bell Journeys

With a birthday of around 280 A.D. Santa has had over 1700 years to get to grips with global immigration and travel practice and is probably one of the most competent international visa experts globally… hence his annual global journey appears to continue without a hitch (with jingle bells all the way!)

This blog has provided a few examples which may help to explain Santa’s Visa Situation, however I suspect there may be some festive magic involved, especially because immigration departments are particularly enchanted places. Regardless of your location, I wish you a very Merry Christmas! 

Written by Katie Smith - Assoc CIPD, BA Hons, HR Advisor at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd

Posted in categories: Immigration Law & Policies, International
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