Owning a passport opens up a world of possibility and freedom for travellers – or so you would think. In some countries around the world, even if you are lucky enough to have access to the government-issued documents, you are still restricted and barred from several countries.
Henley and Partners created a Visa Restrictions Index, which ranks countries globally in accordance to the travel freedom enjoy their inhabitants enjoy – with some surprising results.
Where it might be expected that countries such as North Korea and possibly Cuba could take the bottom spots for the most restricted travel freedom, they actually place at 86 and 69 respectively, from a ranking of a total of 94.
Each country was given a score by global consulting firm Henley and Partners, who specialise in residence and citizenship planning. The score was calculated based on visa regulations of all countries and territories in the world, and the number of other countries that their citizens can travel to without having to obtain a visa.
Taking the lowest spots were Afghanistan (ranked at 94 and able to visit 28 countries visa-free), Iraq, (able to visit 31 countries), Pakistan and Somalia (able to visit 32 countries) and the Palestinian Territory (able to visit 35). This was juxtaposed by Finland, Germany, Sweden, the UK and the US, in first position, who are able to access 174 countries visa-free.
Henley and Partners said: ‘In today’s globalised world, visa restrictions play an important role in controlling the movement of foreign nationals across borders.’Almost all countries now require visas from certain non-nationals who wish to enter their territory.
‘Visa requirements are also an expression of the relationships between individual nations, and generally reflect the relations and status of a country within the international community of nations.
Pakistan is ranked at 92 in the Visa Restrictions Index, and citizens are able to visit 32 countries including Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, and Dominica without a visa. Despite this freedom, stepping over the Pakistani border into India and Iran does requires a visa. At the bottom of the list are the citizens of Afghanistan who are banned from entering Kuwait entirely. They can, however, travel to Micronesia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Haiti without a visa entirely though.
The index reflected the decision in 2014 to allow citizens of the UAE to be allowed short stays in the EU Schengen countries without a visa, moving them up the rankings in the travel freedom index.
A UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) report stated that three-quarters of people in the world travelling to Europe need a visa.
According to the latest Visa Openness Report by the UNWTO, 62 per cent of the world’s population was required a traditional visa prior to departure in 2014, down from 77 per cent in 2008.
A total of 19 per cent of the world’s population was able to enter a destination without a visa, while 16 per cent could receive a visa on arrival (compared to 17 per cent and 6 per cent in 2008).. see more
source: dailymail UK