Passport power is on the rise around the world, with countries in general becoming more welcome and — with Covid restrictions increasingly lifted — we are in fact in a golden age of global mobility.
The continent that has embraced this open travel environment more than anywhere else is Africa, and particularly Central and West Africa. 15 of the ranking’s 23 “most welcoming” countries are to be found there, from Angola to Malawi to South Sudan.
Then there are the island nations, Maldives, Samoa and Tuvalu among them, whose local economies also could do with the boost that visitors and migrants bring.
Afghanistan is the country, according to Arton Capital’s Passport Index, which has the least doors open to it: Only Dominica, Haiti and Micronesia offer its citizens a visa-free green light.
The benefits to countries around the world of taking an open approach to travel are simple. “Exchange, tourism, the development of trades, versus the visa income that they generate which is very, very small,” says Arton.
“So when they measure the pros and cons of having a visa, which is a heavy documented regime, we’re seeing a trend towards e-visa, where a country says, ‘we still maybe want to generate a couple of million from visas, but let’s make it online.”
Arton thinks the day is coming when physical visa documents will be no more. “We believe that in the future, paper visas will disappear. You will not give in your passport in an embassy and wait for a week for somebody to make a stamp.”
Welcoming Countries Rank 2022
1. Angola, Djibouti, Guinea, Maldives, Comoros, Somalia, Bolivia, East Timor, Malawi, Qatar, Micronesia, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Tuvalu, Samoa, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Cambodia, Ethiopia
2. Seychelles, Togo, Uganda, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Suriname
3. Palau, Dominica, Madagascar
86. North Korea, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan
85. Macao, Libya, Eritrea, Bhutan
84. Equatorial Guinea
83. Sudan, Algeria
82. Myanmar, Cameroon