Even as some of the world’s most troubled hotspots have countries maintain a year-round travel advisory for its citizens, several Dubai-based Asian expats claimed surprise that Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan made it to the list of the worst passports to travel with in a recent study.
The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, which is a global ranking of countries based on the freedom of travel for their citizens, saw Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom emerge as the world’s most coveted passports, with the least number of restrictions imposed on its holders, with a score of 173.
This simply means that citizens of the above-mentioned three countries can travel to 173 countries without visa restrictions.
The UAE gained eight ranks from the previous year (56th) and is the second best Arab country for affording visa-free travel to its citizens after the 52nd-ranked Kuwait. While Kuwaitis can travel visa-free to 77 countries, Emiratis can do so to 72 countries acorss the world.
India is ranked at No. 74, and improved its position by 6 slots since last year's rankings, with Indians allowed to travel visa-free to 52 countries.
Afghanistan, which bottomed out as the country with most number of visa restrictions imposed on its passport holders, ranked at 93 with a score of 28, followed by Iraq at a rank of 92 and a score of 31, with and Pakistan and Somalia a mere spot away with a 32 score.
"Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan remain in the bottom four places of the ranking, which means that citizens of these countries enjoy the least freedom of travel," said Henley & Partners in its media statement accompanying the rankings.
Based on the numbers, Afghani nationals can travel visa-free to a mere 28 countries, while Iraqis can visit 31 nations visa-free. Somalia and Pakistan nationals can travel to 32 countries wiothout a visa, stats reveal.
The sub-continent wasn’t spared, with Nepal coming in the position of the fifth worst passport in the world, with a scorecard of 37; Sri Lanka came in at number six, sharing the spot with Kosovo, Sudan and Lebanon with a 38 scorecard.
Despite its recent political turmoil, both Libyan and Syrian passport holders fared better than its sub-continent counterparts with a score of 39 and a rank of 87 out of 93 countries listed.
Meanwhile, passing with flying colours as the second best travel passports were Germany, the US, Denmark and Luxembourg, all coming in with a score of 172.
When Emirates 24|7 spoke with a few Dubai-based expats, Arshad Khan, a Pakistani national living in the UAE for 14 years, was surprised that his country would rank so low in the ratings index.
“I think this index is being very unfair to Pakistani passport holders, especially in lieu of the state of world affairs whereby several countries such as Iran and Myanmar have many more sanctions imposed on them by world authorities but still rank better than us. This criteria doesn’t add up in my head,” he said.
Another Pakistani national, Abrar Hussain Khan, who grew up in Dubai, said it was very “frustrating” that his fellow countrymen had to pay for poor choices of a few.
“It is upsetting and frustrating that some of us, who have only known our country of nationality over holidays and family occasions, are biased against over the colour of our passport when travelling, through no fault of our own,” he said.
Resident and Pakistani national Liaquat Hamed agreed with Khan’s assessment, adding: “Pakistan’s political situation is complex with internal government struggles occupying the time and resources of our men in power, as opposed to working towards a more economically stable state.
“Actions have reactions to it and our bloody history and poor political game play has given its citizens the short end of the stick in these worldly stakes.”
Meanwhile, Sunitha Yogeshwaran, a Sri Lankan national in Dubai, didn’t appear too concerned that her country was ranked among those the most severe travel restrictions, saying: “Good thing that my fellow men and women from Sri Lanka don’t really travel all that much in the first place.”
Henley & Partners, which handles international residence and citizenship planning, has been publishing the Visa Restrictions Index since 2006, which serves as a global ranking of countries based on the freedom of travel for their citizens.
This global ranking is produced in collaboration with global aviation agency IATA.(Emirates247)
Absolutely some countries don't issue one day services for SL passports they need 15 days ha haa haa haa it is classed with lower than low level. only bcos govt it self forge passports ....
JUDE MENDIS Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:55 AM
Western world is trying to condemn SL because we killed PRABAHARAN.
Suq Madique Saturday, 05 October 2013 08:06 AM
Then why are you so concerned about what happens here? Unhappy where you are now?
Renu Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:56 AM
But we are thew mieacle of Asia !!! How come???
Ramuk Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:57 AM
hello sonali what about govt itself forging diplomatic passports, shame the high commissioner has been summoned to UK foreign office to give an explanation...don't worry abt diaspora they can go to 173 countries including SL. If you have the guts why dont you refuse the visa on arrival and see?
Ramuk Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:59 AM
self entertainer dream on....
Nihal B D Saturday, 05 October 2013 05:31 PM
Do not forget the JVP in '71 and again in '89
BLAH Sunday, 06 October 2013 10:54 AM
Sri Lanka is a 3rd world country .. like it or not.
Ramuk Sunday, 06 October 2013 10:55 AM
crimes / fraud /refugees including govt sponsored as well
Ramuk Sunday, 06 October 2013 10:56 AM
what an idiot how can you refuse that for the indigenous ppl of SL
Nadi Karunaratne Saturday, 05 October 2013 08:31 AM
How many countries can our leaders visit these days- not many? What a mess.
Ramuk Sunday, 06 October 2013 11:01 AM
ha sonali go back to mahiyangane you dont need a passport
Gaya Saturday, 05 October 2013 08:38 AM
Only place you can travel with Sri Lankan passport is North of Ceylon. Showing them to the board forces in Omanthai.
Warnakula Saturday, 05 October 2013 08:42 AM
Whole problem is that Sri Lankans are regarded as worst offenders in violating visa regulations. This has been the since the 70's. Majority of these people are economic migrants & countries like Australia are aware of it.
Flatwhite Saturday, 05 October 2013 08:55 AM
Anyone can rank but I have travelled to UK/DUBAI/NZ/AUSTRALIA/SOUT AFRICA/USA/CANADA/MALAYSIA/MALDIVES and i still travel with very proud identity as a sri lankan.When i apply for a visa no questions been asked.
I do not count my self lucky its my travel history.Thanks to asylum seekers and tamil diaspora our passport has met this fate.
saman Sunday, 06 October 2013 12:10 PM
You got ur uk passport just becoz u r sri lankan ! Not becoz u r tamil. Ask your tamil nadu friend ! If u do not agree
Shan Saturday, 05 October 2013 01:15 PM
Failed and rogue countries have no way out - Accept the fate now
Sujee Saturday, 05 October 2013 09:03 AM
The solution is for the world is to remove all the restrictions or visa requirements for Sri Lankans to travel to any country in the world. It should be similar to Maldive Island nationals. Then there won't be any mad rush to get out. I know many who left Sri Lanka risking their lives in the 80s and 90s, now have come back to Sri Lanka and living well.
Nimal Saturday, 05 October 2013 01:20 PM
Still blaming LTTE whatever happens
pradeep Saturday, 05 October 2013 09:06 AM
All because of LTTE
sisiralankatv Saturday, 05 October 2013 01:38 PM
I agreed this TAMIL or Sinhala or Muslim people and boat people and criminals in Paris and many big city ( i met hundred of Sinhala people just with asylum passport as a fake ) those are making bad image Sri Lanka. We people who have a good profile, no issue, As you Flatwhite, I traveled almost 20 countries with last three years. no issue. No worries , even UK or USA passport. This issue due this criminal gang who sent boat people to Australia , EU via India or Russia or to Italy (see how many criminal in Milan).
Saskia Sunday, 06 October 2013 12:46 PM
He he he... I would say "Keep it up SL! and continue with this achievement.
SLGonson Sunday, 06 October 2013 12:57 PM
Why not send Karuna again to UK?
Sonali Saturday, 05 October 2013 09:33 AM
Wow. Thanks Tamil diaspora! Thanks boat people from SL! What a pathetic situ.
Ben Hurling Saturday, 05 October 2013 09:33 AM
Miracle of Asia. LOL!
U A Saturday, 05 October 2013 01:47 PM
This is absolutely true, as we know Singapore is an visa free for Sri lankan's, however when I was travelling from Malaysia to Singapore, the Sri Lankan's were singled out, taking there finger prints and had another interview and interrogated by Singapore officials, this is unrealistic, and unfair as Sri Lankan's have to go through this, while other nationalities are passing without any further complications. Countries talk so much of Human Rights, and they are violating there own laws by these unaccented moral less state where the traveler is dumb founded with these irregularities, the GOSL should hold its grounds on these countries and retaliate to our citizens to be treated the same as any other nationality.
Lobo Saturday, 05 October 2013 09:35 AM
Also because of those who went as refugees and now involved in all sorts of crime and fraud.
Banda Saturday, 05 October 2013 09:37 AM
I live in Dubai, and as part of my work I need to travel to many parts of the world, I totally agree with this report and the difficulties I need to face to obtain visas . For instance the Govt. of SL have allowed Turkish airline to land in SL, but our passports in the Turkish Consulate is ranked with that of Somalia, Congo and other West African countries, We Sri Lankans do not deserve to be among these countries. Its the same with many other countries. Such a pathetic state of affairs.
hello Saturday, 05 October 2013 01:53 PM
LTTE is the excuse for everything in this poor country. The funniest thing is that the Govt who eliminated LTTE is getting greater bashing on the international scene!
gamage Sunday, 06 October 2013 02:17 AM
Thank god i traded mine for a more recognized one! lol suckerz!!!!
jamaljj Saturday, 05 October 2013 01:56 PM
When were the tail of England, we too travelled 173 countries without any restriction before 1985. When we became the head of lion, even Bangladesh is not allowing us to enter her land.
Mahesh Thursday, 17 July 2014 02:42 AM
Wonder of Asia. We have became a colony of China. But still very difficult to get the Chinese Visa. Those days We got on arrival visa to Hong Kong, now to transit visit too need a visa. What the hell external ministry dose?
raviraj Sunday, 06 October 2013 05:05 AM
why blame Tamil diaspora for this pathetic performance of the govt. and Sonali please explain why are more educated Sinhalese migrating after 2009
Anurada Saturday, 05 October 2013 09:58 AM
Now you know why the first family holds onto their American Passport
raviraj Sunday, 06 October 2013 05:06 AM
they are involved in all sorts of crime in those countries whose passport is accepted in 173 countries
raviraj Sunday, 06 October 2013 05:12 AM
srilanka is in very elite company
Yuri Sunday, 06 October 2013 01:45 PM
Do you know how many High rank official claimed Refugee and looking for green card and citizen ship. out there.
Lanka Shantha Sunday, 06 October 2013 05:31 AM
1. Boat people 2. Defectors from the Sri Lanka Sports teams 3. Fake Sports teams 4. Government members and officials taking people with them as assistants to them and allow them to escape. When all these stop, then only we can have valued passport.
peiris Sunday, 06 October 2013 06:02 AM
The problem is not the Passport. It is the small number born in Sri Lanka.Every country has them.
sach Saturday, 05 October 2013 10:27 AM
If SL doesnt issue citizenship to a certian group who are credit card fraudsters, illegal immigrants and members of a banned tarra unit, this wont happen!
Lankan Sunday, 06 October 2013 06:42 AM
It is a serious problem when North Koreans can travel more freely than us :D
John Fernandez Saturday, 05 October 2013 10:36 AM
Very true. I have been to many countries with SL passport and there was no trouble getting a visa. When you have a decent travel record, it doesn't matter what kind of passport you are holding.
John flemings Sunday, 06 October 2013 07:10 AM
First stop this mentality of addressing the sri lankans by there cast / realigion / race or background by politicians or public This is the total failure for this country . Unless we irradicate the fellow Sri Lankans properly this virus will be there for evere.
Nodrog Sunday, 06 October 2013 07:24 AM
The reality is because of the boat refugees the Int'l community think we're all refugees. Because of the crimes these refugees are involved in they think we're all criminals. Because of the ignorance of these refugees they think we're all uneducated
RamUk Saturday, 05 October 2013 06:53 AM
Ha ha ha the reality of the SL in world map
shitake mushrooms Saturday, 05 October 2013 10:49 AM
Yes, and you no doubt have money or work for a very wealthy organization.
kaluarachchi Saturday, 05 October 2013 07:03 AM
Nothing new. Any Sri Lankan passport holder who ahs travelled abroad knows how bad it is to carry a Sri Lankan passport.. Unfortunately it is the truth.
Calistus Jayatilleke Sunday, 06 October 2013 08:07 AM
Hopefully, things will change for the better when we take over the chairmanship of the Commonwealth !
Sonali De Silva Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:06 AM
You are an illegal immigrant. Not a citizen of UK. That's even funnier. He he he!!!
Sue Sunday, 06 October 2013 08:34 AM
Sadly it's our politicians that create the most amount of Human Rights problems and other issues frowned upon by other countries. Yet they (the VIPs and Ministers) get to travel all over the world without any restrictions being made whereas the ordinary traveler innocent of most of these crimes get penalized. How fair is that Henley & Partners? Why don't you stop those high ups traveling wherever they wish to in the first place?
mani Saturday, 05 October 2013 07:13 AM
Dont know to how many countries we Sri Lankans can travel.
Hasan Saturday, 05 October 2013 07:13 AM
Wow...weldone MR, you have improved our foreign relations and our travelers are treated like third world countries because of your approach in managing international.....don't worry still those who don't travel at all who are your supporters from polannaruwa, mahiyangana, matara hambanthota will vote in favor of you because they don't face such issues at all in life.
mike Saturday, 05 October 2013 07:23 AM
Well more important things need to be look into - SRI LANKA this is well know .in addition .as No: 1 Culprits are the present rulers and thugs with all crimes no press freedom innocent people have to suffer .. what is essential not done yet BUT only talks ..come on guys open your eyes
bandara Saturday, 05 October 2013 07:24 AM
Stupidity is at its highest point now for Sri Lanka. However, peoples from China, India frequent the world's every country and occupy the every place on earth. Small population from Sri Lanka is in a deep s**t hole always due to self-inflicted discrimination. -designed by our stupid politicians. Free UP Sri Lankan passports immediately!!!
Mervyn Sunday, 06 October 2013 09:53 AM
Irrespective of having a one if the worst passports and regularly inconvinienced by it.. I am proud to be a Sri Lankan and carry my red passport.
Geoff Sunday, 06 October 2013 09:58 AM
II am so proud I hold an Audtralian Passport.Highly regarded and respected.Proud to own an Australian Passport.We dont need visas to travel to the west.Unlike SL passport holders need to plan mobths and months ahed before their planned trip.Yhen stand in the que in the hot sun over there.I am so lucky.Thank you god .thank you Australia
B Egadawela Saturday, 05 October 2013 07:48 AM
Jayawewa!, the light of Asia with no lights, where even the middle class can afford only one light in their houses. What is the use of so called "development" if the vast majority of people cannot afford to live decently, be treated fairly according to merit and cannot obtain justice, leave aside traveling. Shows that the world is not fooled by false propaganda. The majority here are naive enough to be fooled again and again at voting time. Politicians care two hoots thereafter. We are to be blamed. We will be treated by the world as we deserve to be!!
Shows that the world is not fooled by false propaganda. The majority here are naive enough to be fooled again and again at voting time. Politicians care two hoots thereafter. We are to be blamed. We will be treated by the world as we deserve to be!!...')" type="button" class="btn btn-outline-secondary btn-sm" style="padding-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 2px">Reply
kasun Saturday, 05 October 2013 07:50 AM
ppl in sl dont travel much coz they have no money even to travel within sl
Kondebedapucheena Saturday, 05 October 2013 07:52 AM
it is very true you can feel when you land in places like London,Frankfurt,Paris,Zurich,Copenhagen. they check our passport with microscope and hold us till find if visa is guanine or not .even at BIA some one from embassy comes with microscope and check same way.
Ajja Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:44 AM
These are gimmicks by the mud slingers shows that they dont have work.Come and help to revive Srlilanka and poor countries than bulling...
Ramuk Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:49 AM
Not bcos LTTE or any one bcos govt it self forge diplomatic passports so what you expect. .take another 25 years from now with the current trend you guys will be the last country with worthless passport.
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