penitentmoomin (penitentmoomin) wrote in little_details,

Experiences of needing permission to travel or move house in your own country

My story is set under a repressive government about half a century in the future.

I'm looking for anecdotes, personal accounts, and, well, little details about what it was like not to be able to travel freely in your own country. The sort of thing I have in mind is the system of internal passports in the Soviet Union*, but I would be interested in stories from any country where people had to, or still have to, obtain leave to travel and/or a residency permit for a different area within their own country. Stories about getting official permission to travel abroad might also be relevant.

I should mention that there is no internet and little use of computers in my setting.

What did it feel like - did you resent it bitterly, or did you just accept it?
What did one have to do to get the necessary documents? Was the process time consuming? Was it corrupt?
What justification did the government offer for having this system, if any?
How often, where and when were the documents checked? Were there surprise inspections?
Was there much use of fraud, fake documents, using other people's passports etc.?
What about ways of gaming the system while remaining technically within the rules?
Did the fact that people could not travel or move to other parts of their own country dilute national feeling?
Any other aspects/effects of such a system that someone who has never lived under it would not guess?

*I have added the tags "russia: government" and "russia: history" because the system in the USSR was the model I have in mind, and hopefully to catch the attention of those Little Details members most likely to have relevant experience, but I'm aware similar systems have existed in many countries and still do in some. I would also welcome comments from readers who did not experience such a system personally but know about it from other sources.
Tags: russia: government, russia: history, ~government (misc), ~travel (misc)

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