SA 'passport power' increases - a little | Fin24
  • Covid-19 Money Hub

    The hub will help answer your business and money questions during the coronavirus crisis.

  • Bonang Mohale

    Do we really need B-BBEE during a pandemic? In a word, yes, says the former BLSA head.

  • Going Up

    A month after oil plunged into the abyss, prices are surging.


SA 'passport power' increases - a little

Oct 04 2019 14:16
Compiled by Carin Smith

South African passport holders can now visit 100 destinations without having to get a visa beforehand.

The SA passport has also moved up one notch to 53rd position on the latest Henley Passport Index released this week.

Regionally, Seychelles (26th position globally), Mauritius (30) and South Africa (53) remain the top three passports on the index. The index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

According to the index report, sub-Saharan African states are moving to liberalise their visa regimes in accordance with the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

According to Amanda Smit, managing partner and head of South, East and Central Africa of Henley & Partners, the latest countries to relax their visa regimes are Namibia and Sierra Leone, both of which now offer visa-on-arrival access to a number of African states.

Globally Japan and Singapore retain the first place on index, each with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 190 out of a maximum 227.

With visa-free or visa-on-arrival scores of 188, Finland, Germany, and South Korea remain in second place, while Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg are in third place, with citizens of those countries now able to access 187 destinations worldwide without requiring a visa in advance.

The UAE has climbed five places over the last three months after gaining visa-free access to a number of African countries, including South Africa, and now sits in 15th place, with UAE passport holders able to access 172 destinations without a prior visa.

Passport power

Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan remain at the bottom of the ranking, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival scores of just 29, 27, and 25, respectively.

According to Dr Christian Kaelin, chair of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, ongoing research has shown that "passport power" is about more than just 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," says Kaelin.

The research also reflects that countries offering investment migration programmes have performed strongly on the index. Moving up from the 16th place it held in the last quarter, Cyprus, for instance, now holds 14th place, with Cypriot citizens able to access 173 destinations
around the world without a visa.

Malta retains its strong 7th place with a visa-free or visa on-arrival score of 183, while Antigua and Barbuda rose to 28th place with a score of 149 after gaining access to Russia.

passport  |  travel and leisure  |  tourism


Company Snapshot

Voting Booth

How has Covid-19 impacted your financial position?

Previous results · Suggest a vote