Henley & Partners has updated its passport index for 2019, ranking all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
For the first time ever, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea now hold joint top spot on the inde with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 189.
These latest results consolidate 12 months of Asian dominance, after Japan first climbed to the top spot in February last year, Henley & Partners said.
Following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan, Germany currently sits alone in 2nd place, with a score of 188. Five countries now share 3rd place on the index – which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – with a score of 187: Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden.
The UK and the US look increasingly unlikely to regain the top spot they jointly held in 2015, with the UK now siting in 5th place with a visa-free/visa on arrival score of 185, and the US in 6th, with a score of 184.
Afghanistan and Iraq remain at the bottom of the ranking with a score of just 30, a position one or both countries have occupied throughout the index’s 14-year history.
While growing passport strength seems inevitable for some countries, uncertainty abounds for others, as protracted Brexit negotiations continue.
Last Thursday, EU leaders agreed to a request to delay the Brexit process, with a new conditional deadline set for mid-April.
Although the outcome remains unknown, Prof Florian Trauner, Research Professor at the Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels, points out that the process has not yet affected the UK’s standing on the Henley Passport Index.
“Post-Brexit, it is likely that UK citizens will retain their (short-stay) visa-free travel for the Schengen area. If the UK and EU manage to maintain a close political and trade relationship, the actual impact of Brexit on the travel freedom of British citizens may remain limited.
“However, the picture may change with regard to long-term mobility given that the free movement rights for UK citizens in the EU (and vice versa) will cease to apply.”
South Africans can travel to 100 countries visa-free in 2019 – ranking 51st on the list.
The number of counties is down from 102 in 2018, with South Africans now requiring a visa to enter Turkey – although this can be done through a simple online process designed to issue your visa within 48 hours.
Oman also recently scrapped its visa-on-arrival policy in recent months.
South Africa has steadily dropped down the rankings since 2006, with a best ranking of 35th in 2009.
Below are the countries South Africans can travel to visa-free right now.
|Visa-free entry (68)|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Fiji||Malaysia||Singapore|
|Bahamas||Georgia||Micronesia||St Kitts and Nevis|
|Belize||Guyana||Montserrat||St Vincent and Grenadines|
|British Virgin Islands||Honduras||Nicaragua||Tanzania|
|Cayman Islands||Indonesia||Palestine||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Cook Islands||Israel||Paraguay||Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Visa on entry (32)|
|Gabon||Marshall Islands||St Helena|