Travel

Countries With The Best Passports For International Travel Mobility

Ranked based on the 2016 Henley & Partners Visa Restriction Index, these countries' passports proffer the greatest visa-free access.

Passports are a necessity for safe passage and identification purposes concerning international travelers. Today, it is plain to see that there are some countries whose passports are far better than others in terms of the transnational access they proffer their respective holders. Henley & Partners, a firm based in London, England, United Kingdom, recently published its 2016 Online Visa Restrictions Index. At the top of this list are countries from the European Union and North America. Understandably, these countries have the economic resources and reputations that proffer their citizens trust around the globe. In turn, such trust gives their travelers relatively uninhibited entry into many other countries. The following countries in the list have these attributes that other countries respect to a degree so as to allow their citizens to travel across most national borders with merely a passport.

11. United States (174 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

The United States ties with Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark in that 174 countries grant access to American passport-holding citizens without the need for a visa, although some African countries, Middle Eastern countries, and a select few Asian countries have not lifted entry visa requirements for the US. Some favorite travel destinations for Americans are to be found in Mexico, the U.S. state of Hawaii, Canada, France, Italy, the Bahamas, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, and China. World Bank figures show that Americans spent about $136.7 billion USD on vacation expenses in 2013.

10. The Netherlands (174 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

The Netherlands ties with Belgium and Denmark in that 174 Countries grant access to its passport holder citizens without the need for a visa, while some African countries, Middle Eastern countries, and Asian countries have not lifted entry visa requirements for Holland. It does not matter really, because there are still 174 countries that require no visa entry for the Dutch. Vacation destinations frequented by the most Hollanders are the countries of France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey. World Bank figures show that the Dutch spent about $20.8 billion USD on vacation expenses in 2013.

9. Denmark (174 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

Denmark ties with Belgium in that 174 countries grant access to its passport-holding citizens without the need for a visa, although some African countries, Middle Eastern countries, and certain Asian countries have not lifted entry visa requirements for Denmark. It is not an all-too-important issue, as Danes have 174 other nations to travel to without visa requirements. Typical vacation destinations for Danish travelers are Italy, Spain, Australia, New York City in the U.S., Thailand, and Mallorca. World Bank figures show that the Danes spent about $10.2 billion USD on vacation expenses in 2013.

8. Belgium (174 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

Belgium issues passports to its citizens that grant access to 174 Countries without the need for a visa, although some African countries, Middle Eastern countries, and powerful Asian countries have not lifted entry visa requirements for Belgium. However, Belgians do not really feel all too limited in their journeys because they still have 174 countries to travel in and enjoy visa-free. Typical vacation destinations for Belgian travelers are Spain, Greece, France, and Italy. World Bank figures show that the Belgians spent about $24 billion USD on vacation expenses in 2013.

7. Great Britain (175 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

Great Britain also ties with Spain, Italy, France, and Finland, with 175 countries granting access without a visa to passport-holding British citizens. Still yet, some African countries and powerful Asian countries have not lifted entry visa requirements for Great Britain. The English prefer to vacation in Spain, France, and Portugal, while some alternative, more exotic, destinations are the Caribbean Sea, the U.S. state of Florida, Egypt, Cyprus, the Canary Islands, and much of North Africa. World Bank figures show that the British spent about $68 billion USD on vacation expenses in 2013.

6. Spain (175 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

Spain ties with Italy, France, and Finland, with 175 countries granting access without a visa to their passport-holding citizens. Also like them, some African countries and certain Asian countries have not lifted entry visa requirements for the Spanish. Spaniards have more than enough vacation destinations to choose from. Among them, favorite destinations for Spanish vacations are the cities of London, Paris, and Rome in European, and such Spanish-speaking Latin American countries as Mexico and Cuba. World Bank figures show that Spaniards spent about $22.5 billion USD on vacation expenses in 2013.

5. Italy (175 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

Italy ties with France and Finland with 175 countries granting access without asking of a visa to their passport-holding citizens. Still, some African countries and certain Asian countries have not lifted entry visa requirements for Italy. However, Italians really do not care because they have 175 visa-free countries to travel within and enjoy. Italians also love to travel, and favorite destinations for them are France, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, and Croatia. World Bank figures show that Italians spent about $33.5 billion USD on vacation expenses in 2013.

4. France (175 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

France also has 175 countries granting access to its passport-holding citizens while waiving the visa requirements of them. Some Middle Eastern countries, African countries, and countries that have retained their visa required on every entry are the only sovereign states that require visas from French citizens. The French love to travel, and usually do so in July and August. Popular destinations for French travelers include the Mediterranean, the Iberian Peninsula, and South American countries. In 2009, French tourists spent about $38.9 billion USD traveling outside of their country., although more locally they often go to Britanny and Cote d'Azur. World Bank figures show that French spent about $53.2 billion USD on total vacation expenses to all places in 2013.

3. Finland (175 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

Finland has on its list 175 countries granting entry to its citizens holding passports with no requirements of a visa. The countries that require visas from its citizens are mostly African countries with internal strife, or those countries that have not lifted their visa requirements at all. Finns like traveling for the sake of traveling as much as anyone, but obviously there are favorite destinations for them to go. These include Sweden, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Some made it as far as Thailand and other parts of Asia, as well as the US and even Africa. Some of these trips were for leisure and some were for business. World Bank figures show that Finns spent about $6.4 billion USD collectively on vacation expenses in 2013.

2. Sweden (176 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

Sweden issues passports to its citizens that grant them access to 176 Countries without the need for a visa. This status puts the country as issuing the second most powerful passports among the list of those from around the world. Like Germany, countries that require visas from Swedish citizens are mostly countries with internal turmoil or those that have not removed visa requirements at all for most countries. Most Swedes like to go to Spain, and did so 2.04 million times in 2013. That figure has further increased by twofold in more recent years. Typical reason why Spain is the favorite destination, even for Germans and Brits, are lower domestic travel prices, friendly people, sun, sand, and warm climate. The last three of these are almost always guaranteed. World Bank figures show that Swedes spent about $20 billion USD on vacation expenses in 2013.

1. Germany (177 Countries Granting Access Without a Visa)

Germany counts a total of 177 countries granting its passport-holding citizens access without a visa. The World Tourism Organization also gave Germany top marks in the same level as Henley & Partners in London gave the country. Although some African and Middle Eastern countries, with their internal turmoil, have kept Germany on a visa required status. These countries are basically adhering strictly to visa-required entries for all. German nationals love traveling, but mostly do so in summer when some take six weeks off a year. World Bank figures show that Germans spent about $105.2 billion USD traveling in 2013. Common travel destinations for Germans are Austria, the US, Eastern Europe, and Switzerland.

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