One of the most significant challenges faced by many travelers is the need to apply for a visa every time they visit a new country. It can be even more frustrating when holiday plans are disrupted due to a denied visa application. To overcome these obstacles, many individuals seek to obtain a second passport or citizenship, which allows them to enjoy greater travel freedom without visa restrictions.
Henley & Partners, a global company specializing in residence and citizenship planning, publishes an annual Visa Restrictions Index. This index ranks over 200 countries based on the travel freedom their citizens experience. To create the ranking, researchers from Henley & Partners meticulously analyze visa regulations for all countries and territories worldwide. They then count the number of destinations citizens can visit without requiring a visa.
In the 2014 Visa Restrictions Index, the top passports offering the highest level of travel freedom belonged to Finland, Germany, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Citizens of these countries could visit 174 destinations visa-free. Canada and Denmark followed closely with a score of 173, while Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain all received a score of 172.
Austria, Ireland, and Norway ranked fourth with a score of 171, while New Zealand, Singapore, and Switzerland claimed the fifth spot, scoring 170. At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest-ranking passports were those of Nepal (90th), Palestinian Territory (91st), Pakistan and Somalia (92nd), Iraq (93rd), and Afghanistan (95th).
In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Oman saw their passport rankings improve between 2013 and 2014. The UAE climbed from 77th to 56th place, Qatar jumped from 75th to 56th, and Oman rose from 66th to 64th position. These improvements indicate that citizens from these countries experienced increased travel freedom and access to more visa-free destinations.
The ranking ended up being created in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association, which handles the world’s largest database of travel information.
Top 5 PASSPORTS
Finland, Germany, Sweden, USA, United Kingdom
Score: 174 (Number of destinations citizens can travel visa-free)
Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain
Austria, Ireland, Norway
New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland
BOTTOM 5 PASSPORTS