Passport power: do you know where South Africa ranks?

South Africa is ranked 54th in the ranking of all the world’s passports. This is according to the annual Henley Passport Index from consultancy Henley & Partners. The index is an “authoritative ranking of all the world’s passports” according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

South African passport holders can visit 106 countries for visa-free travel.  The index includes 199 passports and 227 travel destinations. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Each country’s passport is scored on the total number of destinations that the holder can access visa-free. A score of one is allocated for each country no visa is required or visa on arrival or electronic travel authority upon entry. A score of zero is assigned when a visa is required or a passport holder must apply for an electronic visa. 

For the African continent, Seychelles leads the rankings with a score of 153 ranked at 29. South Africa has a score of 106. Somalia is the lowest ranked African country passport ranked at 103 with a score of 35. 


Plan An African Adventure With These 8 Countries South Africans Can Visit Visa-Free

These are the countries where South Africans don’t need a visa at all:

  • Cook Islands
  • Fiji
  • Micronesia
  • Niue
  • Vanuatu
  • Palestine 
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Georgia
  • Ireland 
  • Kosovo
  • Russian Federation
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Hong Kong (SAR China)
  • Macao (SAR China)
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Falkland Islands
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • eSwatini
  • Gabon
  • Kenya
  • Lesotha
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Reunion
  • Senegal
  • Tanzania
  • The Gambia
  • Tunisia
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

These are the countries where South Africans can get a visa on arrival: 

  • Marshall Islands 
  • Palau Islands 
  • Samoa
  • Tuvalu
  • Armenia 
  • Iran
  • Jordan
  • Cambodia 
  • Indonesia 
  • Kyrgyzstan 
  • Laos 
  • Maldives 
  • Nepal 
  • Tajikistan
  • Timor-Leste
  • Bolivia 
  • Burundi 
  • Cape Verde Islands
  • Comoro Islands 
  • Egypt 
  • Uganda
  • Togo
  • Ethipioa 
  • Ghana 
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritania
  • Nigeria 
  • Rwanda 
  • Seychelles 
  • Sierra Leone 
  • Somalia 
  • St. Helena 

Countries where electronic travel authority (ETA) is needed:

  • Pakistan 
  • South Korea 
  • Sri Lanka 


No visa, no problem: 10 places South Africans can travel, visa-free

Index generally:

Japan and Singapore lead the index for the fourth time with a score of 193. Analysts from the company found a strong correlation between a nation’s passport strength and economic power. The more countries the passport gives access to without a need for a visa means the country has more access to global economic output.

They combined the index with World Bank GDP data to get a Henley Passport Power (HPP) score. This score indicates the percentage of global GDP each passport provides to its holders visa-free. “What emerges is an unequivocal link between passport strength and economic power,” the analysts said. The website has a tool that allows countries to check what share of the world’s GDP they can access visa-free. This of course does not mean countries cannot access the GDP’s of countries they need a visa for. It just means it is likely more difficult to access those economic opportunities. 

Featured image via Wikicommons