Henley & Partners has released its 2019 passport index that helps travellers plan ahead for their holidays in foreign countries by ranking their passports according to the number of countries they can access without a prior visa.
Based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Henley Passport Index has ranked Japan and Singapore first, each with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 190 out of a maximum 227. The top spot had been held by a European country or the US for the past 14 years.
Finland, Germany, and South Korea tied in third place with visa-free/visa-on-arrival scores of 188, while Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg came third with 187 destinations worldwide. The UK and the US took sixth place with a score of 184.
The UAE climbed five places over the last three months after gaining visa-free access to a number of African countries such as South Africa with a score of 172.
South Africa slipped from 52nd place in 2018 to 53rd in 2019, though the South African passport was strongest in 2007 and 2008, ranked 35th.
South African passport holders need a visa to travel to France, Greece, Italy, United Kingdom, United States, to name a few.
Dr Christian H Kaelin, the chairperson of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, said: “Our ongoing research has shown that when we talk about ‘passport power’, we are discussing more than simply the destinations a holder can travel to without acquiring a visa in advance. Often, there is a strong correlation between visa freedom and other benefits such as business and investment freedom, independence of the judiciary, fiscal health, and property rights.”
For South Africans planning a holiday in December, these are 100 visa-free countries they can travel to:
Note: Those with asterisks require visa on arrival.
Hong Kong (SAR China)
Macao (SAR China)
Sri Lanka **
Cape Verde Islands *
Comores Islands *
Sierra Leone *
St. Helena *
Marshall Islands *
Palau Islands *
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde.)