I've noticed that a number of people who arrive at our site, looking to ask questions about their particular situation, choose not to specify what country they're from. Instead, they will give a description of that country, for example saying that it's in Europe but not part of the EU, or that it's in the Caribbean.

When you're talking about immigration, taxes, or the like, one's country of origin can be very relevant, though. My first reaction whenever I see this is to ask them to specify their country of origin, and potentially to vote to close as "unclear" until they clarify.

But the more that I see people do this, doubt begins to form in my mind. I'm confused why anyone chooses on purpose to hide their exact country of origin from a question it's relevant for. (Sometimes people forget to say anything at all, but that's not what I'm asking about here.) Am I missing some good reason for information like this to be left out? Is this a question of privacy?

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    Not so much here, but on another immigration forum I'm active on, it is very obvious to me that posters are afraid of being grouped into a category with negative connotations. I've literally seen people claim they were stateless rather than finally admit that they were in fact citizens of Nigeria, Pakistan, Brazil, etc...
    – ouflak Mod
    Apr 14, 2016 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


I think it's incredibly relevant, and regularly hound people about their citizenship on both here and on Travel.SE. It matters so much for visas, length of visa, the type of visas you can get, tax laws, reciprocal agreements and more.

From my view, I think people just either don't think about how it might be important - they're new to this, or they think a country like the US might have the same laws no matter where you're from (which we know isn't always true).

If you see a missing citizenship on a question, sometimes it won't matter, but in the event it could make a difference, I feel it's essential to clarify (even put the question on hold while doing so).

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    On the other hand, there's often enough information in a question to know what rules apply to a person without needing to know their precise country if citizenship. Anyone who indicates in their question that they have an ESTA, for example, is from a VWP country. Additional information about citizenship is unlikely to be relevant. I don't think we should ask unless it's really critical to know.
    – phoog
    May 12, 2016 at 15:05

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