Millions of expats and travellers are on the move every day all over the world – but not all nations have an equal freedom of movement.
The right to live, travel and work wherever they wish is enjoyed by millions – but if a traveller holds a passport issued by some nations, they are shunned by the rest of the world.
Citizens from the USA, Britain, Finland, Sweden and Germany can visit 174 countries without applying for a visa.
However, someone carrying an Afghan passport is only allowed visa free access to 28 states.
And while the European Union welcomes visitors from outside the continent with open arms, the borders are closed to a select few who have to undergo rigorous checks before being allowed entry.
The latest visa protocol to be dropped by the EU is for visitors from the United Arab Emirates, whose passport holders can now visit 77 other nations without formal visas.
Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan and Palestine sit at the bottom of the pile.
Because of civil unrest and terror connections, they are joined by passport holders from Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Iraq, Kosovo, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Lebanon.
Out of more than 196 nation states listed by the United Nations, visitors from these few countries can only travel to 32 others without an entry visa – and for Afghanistan that reduces to just 28.
Other countries with open visa access to the most countries are
- Canada and Denmark (173)
- Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain (172)
- Austria, Ireland and Norway (171)
- New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland (170)
- Greece (169)
- Australia (168)
- Malaysia and Malta (166)
- Iceland (165)
- Czech Republic and Hungary (162)
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The listings are compiled by Henley & Partners, a specialist residence and visa company.
A spokesman explained that visas are a tool for governments to control who enters and stays within their borders and a way of excluding undesirable visitors.
“Although applying for a visa for travellers from some countries can be a long and frustrating process, most governments see visa restrictions on freedom and travel as important to their security,” said the spokesman.
“How visas interact between countries also gives an indication of political and commercial relationships between the governments.