Henley & Partners has published its latest global mobility index for 2022, outlining the countries that South Africans can travel to visa-free right now – and how the pandemic continues to impact international travel.
Japan holds the number one spot on the index — the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa — with a record-high visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 193, while Singapore and South Korea come in joint-second place, with a score of 192.
EU member states dominate the rest of the top ten spots on the latest ranking, with Germany and Spain in joint-third place, with access to 190 destinations visa-free. Finland, Italy, and Luxembourg follow closely behind in joint-fourth place with 189 destinations, and Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden share fifth place with their passport holders able to travel to 188 destinations worldwide without a visa.
Both the UK and US have dropped down a rank, to sixth and seventh place respectively, and Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the index, with its nationals only able to access 27 destinations worldwide visa-free.
As US travel chaos begins to ease following the Fourth of July holiday weekend, strikes and staff shortages are forcing airlines across Europe to cancel thousands of flights, causing hours-long queues at major airports.
Heathrow Airport has even told airlines to stop selling summer tickets as the UK’s biggest airport struggles to cope with the rebound in air travel. Dr Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners saidthe recent surge in demand is hardly surprising.
“The latest results from the Henley Passport Index are a heartening reminder of the very human desire for global connectivity even as some countries move toward isolationism and autarky. The shock of the pandemic was unlike anything seen in our lifetimes, and the recovery and reclamation of our travel freedoms, and our innate instinct to move and migrate will take time.”
The index shows that South Africa has slipped down four places in the rankings to 55th position. At the mid-point of 2022, South African passport holders are able to access 105 destinations without obtaining a prior visa.
On a positive note, South Africa faces far fewer Covid-19-related travel restrictions compared to the start of the year when several countries moved to place restrictions on South Africa following the discovery of the Omicron variant at the end of November.
A mapping tool developed by travel website Skyscanner shows that as of 19 July , South Africa has 29 ‘major restrictions’ in place from other countries. This is down from around 60 significant restrictions in mid-2021. These countries have suspended travel, may be closed to entry, or entry may only be possible if you are a citizen/meet strict entrance requirements.
Below are the 105 countries South Africans can travel to visa-free according to the latest Henley & Partners report.
* Indicates visa on arrival or eTA.
|Cape Verde Islands*
|Hong Kong (SAR China)
|Macao (SAR China)
|Antigua and Barbuda
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines
|Trinidad and Tobago
|British Virgin Islands
|Turks and Caicos
|St. Kitts and Nevis