It has retained the number 1 position in an annual travel freedom ranking, despite losing visa-free admission to one country.
Sweden also remains static in second place with 175 countries, and Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain and the US jointly rank third, with their nationals enjoying access to 174 countries without a visa. Britons have visa-free access to 173 countries.
Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan sit at the very bottom of the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, each with visa-free access to less than 30 countries worldwide.
This shows a slight change from last year’s ranking, with Somalia rising out of the bottom four with access now to 30 countries, and Syria dropping into it with only 29.
In total, 48 countries lost ground over the past year, dropping between one and three ranks, and only 42 countries showed no movement at all.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Chairperson of Henley & Partners, says that although the size and make-up of the ‘Top 10’ remains the same as last year, the changing geopolitical climate could well affect the rankings over the next 12 months.
“We have witnessed several major events recently that are likely to have an impact on global mobility including Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump. Both can be interpreted as steps toward restricting movement and creating barriers to entry. This trend towards curbing travel freedom is already apparent in the shift in rankings on this year’s Visa Restrictions Index,”explains Dr. Kälin, a leading authority on international immigration policy.
Peru was the highest individual mover, gaining 15 places.
Island nations also made a strong showing, with the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Micronesia, Kiribati and Tuvalu all gaining over nine places.
Ghana showed the most negative movement, losing four places in one year.
The fortunes of the emerging economies of the Brics nations varied this year.
Brazil and China both increased their standing on the index, moving up three and two ranks respectively.
Russia dropped three places, India two, and South Africa one. SA is currently sitting at number 55 on the list of the most powerful passports with visa free access to 90 countries.