South Africans can visit these 102 countries without a visa right now

Travel advisors Henley & Partners has released its latest Passport Index for 2018.

The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information, and it is enhanced by extensive, ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.

According to the Index, Japan and Singapore share first place enjoying visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 destinations.

Both countries gained access to Uzbekistan earlier this year, knocking Germany off the top spot and kicking the latter into second place for the first time since 2013. 2018 is the first year in the index’s 13-year history that either Japan or Singapore has had the most powerful passport in the world.

The rest of the top 20 on the Henley Passport Index remains fairly stable as the northern hemisphere enters the big summer holiday season, with no new visa-waivers processed for the UK and the US, who both remain in 4th place. Nationals of these countries, like nationals of most EU member states, have not seen any improvement in their global access since 2017.

Improving African passports

In June, Ethiopia introduced a universal e-visa system for all travelers entering the country, following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe, which implemented a similar system in May.

According to Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk, these developments reflect growing efforts on the part of new African heads of state to strengthen trade partnerships and stimulate foreign direct investment.

“Key to selling the idea of reform touted by the newly inaugurated administrations of Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed is publicly strengthening their ties to the international community and presenting their respective governments as adhering to international governance norms.”

Ethiopia in particular is easing entry requirements for foreign investors and privatising a number of key state-owned enterprises after years of a strong nationalist agenda, he said.

South Africa also improved its ranking – rising to 50th in the world – with its local passport now allowing you to travel to 102 countries visa-free.

Below are the countries you can travel to visa-free right now.

* Indicates visa on arrival or eTA.


Angola Lesotho Somalia*
Benin* Madagascar* St. Helena*
Botswana Malawi Swaziland
Cape Verde Islands* Mauritania* Tanzania
Comores Islands* Mauritius Togo*
Djibouti* Mozambique Tunisia
Ethiopia* Namibia Uganda*
Gabon* Reunion Zambia*
Ghana* Rwanda* Zimbabwe
Guinea-Bissau* Senegal
Kenya Seychelles*


Cambodia* Malaysia Sri Lanka*
Hong Kong (SAR China) Maldives* Tajikistan*
Indonesia Nepal* Thailand
Kyrgyzstan* Philippines Timor-Leste*
Laos* Singapore
Macao (SAR China) South Korea


Ireland Kosovo Russian Federation


Cook Islands Palau Islands* Vanuatu
Micronesia Samoa*
Niue Tuvalu*


Antigua and Barbuda Dominica St. Lucia
Bahamas Dominican Republic St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Barbados Grenada Trinidad and Tobago
British Virgin Islands Haiti Turks and Caicos Islands
Cayman Islands St. Kitts and Nevis


Argentina Ecuador Paraguay
Belize El Salvador Peru
Bolivia Falkland Islands Uruguay
Brazil Guatemala Venezuela
Chile Nicaragua
Costa Rica Panama

Middle East/Other

Armenia* Israel Palestinian Territory
Georgia Jordan* Qatar
Iran* Oman* Turkey*

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South Africans can visit these 102 countries without a visa right now