By the second quarter of this year, the United States lost the right to visa-free entry to 27 countries, moving to 26th place in the ranking of “Passport Index” published by Henley & Partners.
The index analyzes the visa regulations of 200 countries and ranks them by the number of countries without visas. The organization noted that the fact of widespread border closures due to the coronavirus pandemic did not affect the ranking figures, as the current restrictions are not related to formal agreements on visa-free travel between countries. However, the crisis has had an impact on the movement of people and on the value of a number of passports, which are considered influential by the rating and provide a formal opportunity for free travel.
Thus, as of July 1, the U.S. passport, previously ranked 7th in the ranking with visa-free access to 185 countries, fell to 26th place in the neighborhood with Mexico. The company pointed out that the United States found itself in this position temporarily due to the European Union (EU) ban on American citizens entering the territory.
The first position in the ranking continues to be occupied by Japan with visa-free access to 191 countries. Continued leadership is due to the fact that Japan can enter the EU from July 1, 2020. The UK, Singapore, the USA, Australia, Canada and others also remain in the top 10. The rating outsiders are Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
The position of the Russian passport on the 50th line has not changed either formally or due to EU restrictions, but the Ukrainian passport lost visa-free access to 27 EU countries at least until 15 July 2020. Georgia has retained its place in the rating.
“As we have already seen, the impact of the pandemic on freedom of movement was more radical and prolonged than originally thought. In the coming months, we will see the emergence of a new global passport hierarchy in terms of mobility: countries that have effectively managed the pandemic will lead the ranking, and it is not necessarily that these will be traditional countries for the Index, strong in industrial terms,” said the Chairman of the Henley & Partners Group and author of the Passport Index concept.
Henley & Partners CEO Jörg Steffen expressed confidence that residence permit and citizenship programs through investment will be one of the few opportunities for countries to get the necessary economic support and reduce public debt.
“When properly implemented and managed, investment programmes enable countries to take advantage of revenue streams that help maintain the stability needed in times of uncertainty. For wealthy citizens, an alternative passport (such as that of Cyprus or Montenegro) is also becoming a valuable new asset amid market volatility, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of family members,” he added.