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Visa-free Access Improving Globally; Germany On Top


A country-wise data on Visa Restrictions indicate that overall, visa-free access is improving around the world.

But there continues to be a huge disparity in the levels of travel freedom between countries, despite the world becoming more mobile and interdependent.

The 2016 Visa Restrictions Index, published by Henley & Partners, provides insight into the development of visa policies over the last 11 years.

Germany has retained its position in the top spot among a list of 218 countries, with visa-free access to 177 countries.

Sweden remained in second place with visa-free access to 176 countries.

The UK dropped from first to third place this year, after three consecutive years in first place. A larger group of countries share the third place, with Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the UK all having visa-free access to 175 countries.

Malta, which runs the world's most successful citizenship-by-investment program with over EUR1 billion in capital raised since its launch in 2014, has gained visa-free access to another two countries since 2015, making it the 8th most powerful passport in the world. The Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, another key location of citizenship-by-investment in Europe, ranks 17th on the Index with visa-free access to 159 countries. The leading Caribbean citizenship-by-investment location, Antigua and Barbuda, ranked 30th and its passport-holders may now travel to 134 countries visa-free.

Portugal, which holds the most attractive residence-by-investment program through its Golden Visa Program, is 6th in the 2016 Index. Its citizens may travel to 172 countries visa-free.

Somalia and terrorism-hit Asian countries of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to hold the bottom four positions on the Index, and thus have again been labeled the worst passports in the world.

by RTT Staff Writer

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