The cost of a South African passport vs Australia, USA, New Zealand, UAE and more

 ·27 Apr 2024

South Africa has one of the cheapest passports in the world, but drops down the global rankings when visa costs are factored in.

According to a new study by Compare the Market Australia, the United Arab Emirates has the cheapest passport in the world at AU$27.13 (R336.52)

India and Hungary (five-year passports) are second and third at $27.70 (R343.59) and $31.78 (R394.19), respectively.

South Africa comes in fourth, with a passport cost of $48.44 (R600.00).

On the other end of the scale, Mexico’s 10-year passport was the most expensive at $353.90 (R4389.73).

South Africa’s passport is far cheaper than New Zealand ($193.72 or R2402.88), the USA ($252.72 or R3134.70) and Australia ($346.00 or R4291.74)

RankCountryValid for (years)Visa-free countries Cost of passport
1UAE5183$27.13 (R336.52)
2India1062 $27.70 (R343.59)
3Hungary (5-year-passport)5188 $31.78 (R394.19)
4South Africa10108 $48.44 (R600.00)
5Kenya1076$49.28 (R611.26)
25New Zealand10190 $193.72 (R2402.88)
26Mexico (6-year-passport)6162 $202.10 (R2506.8)
27USA10189$252.72 (R3134.70)
28Australia10190 $346.00 (R4291.74)
29Mexico (10-year-passport)10162 $353.90 (R4389.73)

When taking validity into account, South Africa climbs the rankings even further.

India is the cheapest country in this category, with an average annual cost of only AUD$2.77 (R34.36).

South Africa comes in second with a yearly cost of $4.84 (R60.00), followed by Kenya

South Africa ($4.84) and Kenya ($4.93) were second and third cheapest in this regard.

Mexico’s three and 10-year passports again took the most expensive spots at $35.39 (R438.97) and $49.95 (R619.57), respectively.

“It is important to note that renewal fees may differ from first-time application fees. This means that the cost per year of a shorter-validity passport is not necessarily directly comparable to the cost per year of a passport that is initially valid for longer,” said Compare the Market.

RankNationCost per valid year
1India$2.77 (R34.36)
2South Africa$4.84 (R60.00)
3Kenya$4.93 (R61.15)
4Spain (for under 30-year-olds)$4.95 (R61.40)
5Poland$5.43 (R67.35)
25USA$25.77 (R319.65)
26Mexico (6-year-passport)$33.68 (R417.76)
27Australia$34.60 (R429.17)
28Mexico (10-year-passport)$35.39 (R438.97)
29Mexico (3-year-passport)$49.95 (R619.57)
Source: Compare the Market Australia

Not as strong

That said, when incorporating passport figures from the Henly Passport Index, South Africa drops down the rankings when considering the cost per number of countries a passport holder can travel to without the need for a visa.

South Africans can visit 108 countries visa-free – far below the 194 for France, Germany, Italy, Singapore and Japan.

In this category, South Africa drops to 14th at $0.45 (R5.58) per visa-free country.

The UAE passport is the best value in this category at $0.15 (R1.86) followed by Hungary (5-year passport) at $0.17 (R2.11).

The 10-year Mexican passport is once again the most expensive in this regard, coming out at $2.18 (R27.04).

RankCountryCost per visa-free country
1UAE$0.15 (R1.86)
2Hungary (5-year-passport)$0.17 (R2.11)
3Spain (for under 30-year-olds)$0.26 (R3.23)
13India $0.45 (R5.58)
14South Africa$0.45 (R5.58)
15Germany (for over 24-year-olds)$0.60 (R7.44)
28Australia$1.82 (R22.58)
29Mexico (10-year-passport)$2.18 (R27.04)
Source: Compare the Market Australia

Read: The best low-cost airline in the world is in South Africa

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