South Africans are often frustrated with the complex and costly visa requirements for Europe and the US, but there are actually 58 countries we can travel to visa free and another 32 that only require visas on arrival – all of which is illustrated on the upgraded Passport Index.
Arton Capital, a global financial advisory firm specialising in international residency and second citizenship solutions, has launched its latest edition of the Passport Index (https://www.passportindex.org) - a ranking system which assesses the benefits of each passport from around the world. The index has a new ‘Welcoming Rank’ which shows the world’s most and least powerful passports based on visa-free access afforded to passport-holders.
Ranked solely on the number of countries that accept visa-free or with visa on arrival, the index serves to explain and help visualise the power of each passport on the holder’s identity, opportunity, mobility and overall quality of life.
South Africa is ranked 87th on the list, with access to 90 countries – 58 visa free and 32 with visa on arrival. South African passports offer visa free travelling to most SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries, as well as almost all South American nations.
“In a world that has ever-changing political and economic circumstances and uncertainty, flexibility and adaptability can be taken for granted by some. To move freely within the European Union or to travel visa-free to hundreds of locations might seem like a given for many, but to others this is something they might think they can only dream of. To be allowed to enter a country visa-free is not determined on beliefs or morals but on what piece of paper you hold in your hand. Your passport”, explains Armand Arton, President of Arton Capital.
As the Department of Home Affairs continues its attempts to improve the credibility, reliability, and security of our passports it is hoped that our global mobility score will increase as well – making it easier to travel for both work and leisure.
While this could potentially take years to achieve many high net-worth Individuals are opting to invest in EU residency programs in Portugal or Hungary for example, or in second citizenship programs in countries such as Malta and Cyprus. By investing in the Cyprus program for instance South Africans can add an additional 63 countries to their visa-free travel list and their Global Mobility Score will jump from 91 to 148.
“Your passport is one of the most important documents in your life but to some, it reduces the opportunities for themselves and their families at better education, careers and standard of living.” An improved passport leads to improved lives and support for national economies. It also generates investment, disperses wealth and increases employment opportunities”, says Armand Arton.