South Africa moves to 53rd position on the Henley Passport Index. Picture: Supplied.

South Africa has moved one place to 53rd on the Henley Passport Index, and travellers now have access to 100 destinations without having to obtain a visa. 

This follows their report that South Africa had dropped three spots on the Henley Passport Index with a visa-free/visa on arrival score of 99 earlier this year.

The index was compiled using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and enhanced by research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.

Amanda Smit, managing partner and head of South, East and Central Africa at Henley & Partners, said the index reflected a slight upward shift for many other Sub-Saharan African states as countries on the continent moved to liberalise their visa regimes in accordance with the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). 

She said Namibia and Sierra Leone now offered visa-on-arrival access to many African states.

Seychelles, Mauritius and South Africa remained the top 3, with a global ranking of 26, 30, and 53, respectively.

Asia continued to dominate globally. 

“Japan and Singapore retain a firm hold on first place on the Henley Passport Index, each with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 190 out of a maximum 227. With visa-free/visa-on-arrival scores of 188, Finland, Germany, and South Korea remain in 2nd place, while Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg are in 3rd place, with citizens of those countries now able to access 187 destinations worldwide without requiring a visa in advance,” she said. 

The UAE climbed five places over the last three months after gaining visa-free access to many African countries, including South Africa, and now sits in 15th place. UAE passport holders can access 172 destinations without a prior visa. Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan remain at the bottom of the ranking, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival scores of just 29, 27, and 25, respectively.