When it comes to ease of travelling nationals from Singapore and Malaysia have the fewest hassles with their passports among the most convenient in the world for gaining visa-free entry to other countries.
According to the latest 2017 Visa Restrictions Index produced by Henley & Partners (H&P), who claim to be the global leader in residence and citizenship planning, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world’s leading travel information database provider, being Singaporean gets you into more countries globally than holding a passport from any other Asean member country; Of 196 countries globally, 173 grant visa-free entry to Singaporeans.
According to H&P the ranking methodology includes the number of countries the citizens of one country can can travel to without requiring a visa, country population, conditions on obtaining E-visa’s, visa restriction policies, and biometric passport quality (ICAO 9303 compliant.
Speaking of this years index in which 48 countries lost ground while 42 showed no movement at all from the past year, Dominic Volek, managing partner of Henley & Partners Singapore and head Southeast Asia, said “countries that offer the most attractive citizenship-by-investment programs in the world continue to perform strongly”.
Singapore One of the Most Welcoming Globally
While Singapore has no citizenship-investment-programs, it provides an opportunity for investors to apply for a Singapore passport after two years of permanent residency (PR).
In addition, its immigration policy allows visa-free entry to the nationals of 150 countries making it one of the most welcoming globally. Citizens from a further 36 countries need to apply for a visa before entering.
Despite dropping one place from last year, being a Malaysia citizen and holding a Malaysia passport is pretty convenient also. Ranked the second most convenient of Asean member nation passports, a Malaysia passport enables visa-free entry to 164 countries. In return the citizens of 128 countries can enter Malaysia without requiring a visa.
Third ranked in Asean and number 23 in the world are citizens of Brunei Darussalam, who can enter visa-free to 151 countries, making it the 23rd most convenient passport globally to posses.
Despite being a major inbound tourism centre the Thai passport is ranked 67th in world, providing visa-free-access to 71 countries, making it the fifth most convenient Asean passport to posses. Only 52 countries are permitted to enter Thailand without a visa though.
Next in Asean are citizens of the Philippines, whose passport gets them into 61 countries without the need of a visa, putting it in 75th position globally, followed by Indonesia in 79th global rank with its passport providing visa-free access to 57 countries.
Not surprisingly the Asean member countries with the most restrictive visa-free concessions – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, and Myanmar bring up the bottom of the list, ranked 88th, 88th, 90th, and 93rd globally respectively, with their passports providing visa-free entry to 48, 48, 45, and 41 countries only.
Now, in addition to having the regions best education facilities (See: Singapore Universities Unchallenged For Asean Education Hub Title), being the second easiest country for doing business in globally (See: Ease of Doing Business: Indonesia Leads the World in Reforms), having the seventh least corrupt civil service globally (See: Corruption: Singapore Cleanest, Cambodia Filthiest, Thailand Plummets Down The Rabbit Hole), and home to the regions top logistics hub (See: Singapore Remains Top Asean Logistics Hub For 10th Consecutive Year: 2016 LPI Report), being Singaporean now comes with the additional bragging rights of having Asean’s best passport.
- Singapore passport ranked 4th globally in travel freedom (Channel NewsAsia)
- Singapore amongst the countries with highest visa-free access (Singapore Business Review)
- UAE passport maintains its power rank in the Gulf (Zawya)