The South African passport visa free access now extends to 47% of the world’s destinations thanks to an improved global index ranking. According to the Henley Passport Index, which ranks the world’s passports based on the number of countries their holders can access without a prior visa, the SA passport now holds the 53rd spot.
Since July 2022, Egypt has joined the number of countries South Africans can travel to without a visa, allowing an upward move by two places. The index uses exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), showing that there are now 106 countries to visit without visa from South Africa.
How Does the South African Passport Compare?
Regarding passport power, Mauritius is the only African country that beats the number of no visa countries for South Africa. It holds the 34th spot on the Henley Passport Index and has access to 146 visa-free destinations. The South African passport visa free access remains higher than passports from Malawi, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Thailand.
To determine the Henley Passport Power (HPP) each passport provides to its holders visa-free, data from the Henley Passport Index is compared to data from the World Bank GDP. It shows the percentage of global GDP you can access with your passport and the link between passport strength and economic power.
According to the data, you can access 15.36% of the global economy using an SA passport visa free. The Japanese passport ranks at the top, providing visa free access to 193 destinations and 85% of the worldwide economy. South Korea and Singapore take second place with visa free access to 192 destinations, followed by Spain and Germany with 190, then Italy, Finland, and Luxembourg with 189.
The UK passport is in 6th place with access to 187 visa free destinations, while the US passport is in 7th place with access to 186 visa free destinations. The Afghanistan passport is at the bottom of the ranking at the 109th spot, with visa free access to only 27 destinations. Other countries at the bottom include Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
How Does the Global Index Rank Countries SA Passport Visa Free?
Data from IATA forms the basis of the Henley Passport Index. Since visa policies get updated constantly, the research team at Henley and Partners cross-checks each passport against all 227 possible travel destinations throughout the year. It also monitors relevant changes to countries South Africans can travel to without a visa.
For every travel destination or countries to visit without visa from South Africa, the passport gets a score of 1. The score is also applied if you can obtain a visa on arrival, an electronic travel authority (ETA), or a visitor’s permit when entering the destination. With such visa types, you don’t need to get pre-departure approval from the country’s government because of the visa-waiver programs in place.
If you need a visa or must obtain a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) before departure, the passport gets a score of zero. Pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival also receives a score of zero because it’s not considered visa-free. The total score for the passport equals the number of countries South Africans can travel to without a visa.
What Are the Requirement for South African Visa Free Qualification?
The global index for no visa countries for South Africa assumes that:
- You have a valid passport
- You have an ordinary passport instead of an emergency, diplomatic or temporary one.
- You’re an adult citizen of South Africa travelling alone and not in a tourist group.
- You meet all the basic requirements for entry, like having proof of sufficient funds or a hotel reservation.
- You have all the necessary vaccinations or immunizations for travel.
- You’re arriving and departing from the same airport.
- You’re seeking a short stay between three days and several months instead of a transit stay in the destination territory or country.
- Entry into the destination country is for business or tourist purposes.
What Does The SA Passport Gain on Global Index Mean for Opportunities?
Although passports are not usually linked to financial affairs, comparing World Bank GDP data with Henley Passport Index data shows that a powerful passport serves as a pathway for greater economic opportunity and well-being. With a strong passport, you’ll have more countries to visit without visa from South Africa, providing you with significant financial freedoms in terms of business opportunities and international investment.
The higher the number of countries South Africans can travel to without a visa, the higher the chances for economic mobility and growth. The SA passport gain offers a crucial advantage by opening the doors to a majority of the world for South Africans and allowing you to seize professional, business and personal opportunities.
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With over ten years of experience helping thousands of clients in over 105 countries with different financial and general emigration aspects, FinGlobal is well-positioned to ensure a smooth and successful process. Whether you’re moving to start a new chapter, thinking about financial emigration from South Africa or simply want to invest offshore and diversify your risk, FinGlobal’s capable team has you covered!
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If you’re thinking of emigrating but don’t know where to start or need advice on compliance, tax emigration, pensions, retirement annuities or annuity income, simply get in touch with the accredited FinGlobal team to discuss your unique needs. Send us an email or give us a call today for assistance!