This latest ranking of passport power and global mobility – which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – shows that overall, African states continue to fare poorly, although there have been some recent positive changes as more countries on the continent relax their visa policies.
South Africa dropped to 54th place on the ranking (down from 51st) after Djibouti changed its policy from visa-on-arrival to an e-visa system.
The Seychelles continues to occupy first place in the Sub-Saharan region, moving up to 27th place globally, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 150.
Mauritius remains in regional 2nd place, with a score of 145, and South Africa retains its 3rd place regionally. At the other end of the mobility spectrum in Africa, Somalia sits in last place, with citizens able to access just 31 destinations without a prior visa.
Globally, Japan and Singapore jointly hold first place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 189. South Korea now sits in 2nd place on the index along with Finland and Germany, with citizens of all three countries able to access 187 destinations around the world without a prior visa.
With a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 183, the UK and the US now share 6th place – the lowest position either country has held since 2010, and a significant drop from their 1st-place spot in 2014.
“With a few significant exceptions, the latest rankings from the index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as critical to economic growth and mutual trust,” said Amanda Smit, managing partner at Henley & Partners South Africa.
“Asian countries’ dominance of the ranking is proof of that, showing the effects that progressive diplomacy has on global passport power.”
These are the countries South African passport holders can access without a visa:
* Indicates visa on arrival or eTA.
|Cape Verde Islands*||Mauritius||Togo*|
|Hong Kong (SAR China)||Maldives*||Tajikistan*|
|Macao (SAR China)||South Korea|
|Marshall Islands*||Palau Islands*||Vanuatu|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Dominican Republic||St. Lucia|
|Bahamas||Grenada||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Barbados||Haiti||Trinidad and Tobago|
|British Virgin Islands||Jamaica||Turks and Caicos|
|Dominica||St. Kitts and Nevis|