Annual Global Index Report Reveals Which Passports Give Most Travel Freedom

by Ray Clancy on April 2, 2015

Expats travelling around the world for work face less hassle if they have passports from the UK, the United States, Finland, Germany and Sweden, a new index report shows.

Indeed owning a passport from these five countries mean you are less likely to be refused entry to a country and also more likely to travel freely, according to the latest annual Visa Restrictions Index from global consulting firm Henley and Partners.

airlineGLOBEWhile these five countries top the rankings with the ability to access 174 countries each without a visa, they are closely followed by Canada and Denmark on 173 and Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain all on 172.

Not surprisingly, at the bottom of the index table is Afghanistan whose passport holders can visit just 28 countries visa free, and are banned from entering Kuwait entirely. They can, however, travel to Micronesia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Haiti without a visa.

Next at the bottom is Iraq with the ability to access 31 countries visa free, Pakistan and Somalia both at 32 and Palestine at 35. The biggest single mover was Moldova, which jumped from 68th to 46th place, achieving a score of 89 countries.

Where it might be expected that passport holders from countries such as North Korea and possibly Cuba could take the bottom spots for the most restricted travel freedom, they are ranked at 86 and 69 respectively.

Each country was given a score based on the visa regulations of all countries and territories in the world, and the number of other countries that their citizens can travel to without having to obtain a visa.

This year’s index reflected the decision taken in 2014 to allow citizens of the United Arab Emirates to be allowed short stays in the European Union Schengen countries without a visa, moving them up the rankings in the index.

‘In today’s globalised world, visa restrictions play an important role in controlling the movement of foreign nationals across borders. Almost all countries now require visas from certain non-nationals who wish to enter their territory,’ said a Henley and Partners spokesman.

‘Visa requirements are also an expression of the relationships between individual nations, and generally reflect the relations and status of a country within the international community of nations,’ he added.

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