Canadian passports tie for 22nd spot in global ranking of visa-free travel

Canada and Australia last year were tied for 25th spot in the global passport index

Canadian passport
The Canadian government has a travel advisory in effect that warns against travelling anywhere outside Canada because of COVID-19 | Glen Korstrom

Canada tied with Australia, Malta, Greece and the Czech Republic for 22nd spot in a ranking of 199 countries' passports that is based on how many countries those nations' citizens are eligible to visit without needing a visa. 

U.K.-based Henley and Partners' has released annual passport rankings since 2006, and it revealed its 2022 rankings this week. 

Henley ranked Canada as tied with those four other nations for having passports that allow citizens to visit 185 countries without needing a visa. Canada and Australia last year tied for 25th spot, with citizens able to visit 184 countries without needing a visa. Canadians are newly able to visit Pakistan without needing a visa, Henley's group head of public relations, Sarah Nicklin told BIV in an email. 

No other countries changed their policies on visa-free access to Canadians, although many countries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily placed travel restrictions on Canadians. 

The Canadian government continues to have a travel advisory warning Canadians not to travel anywhere outside Canada.

Canada this year moved up in the Henley ranking to tie Malta, Greece and the Czech Republic – countries that last year were tied for 19th spot on the global ranking, alongside Norway, the U.K., and the U.S., with citizens able to visit 185 countries visa-free.

Norway, the U.K., and the U.S. each moved up in the rankings, as all three of those countries are now able to visit 186 countries visa-free. 

The top 10 countries' in Henley's 2021 and 2022 rankings were identical, as Japan and Singapore tied for top spot, with citizens able to visit 192 countries visa-free. Germany and South Korea tied for third spot in both years, with those citizens able to visit 190 countries visa-free.

Fifth spot in both years was occupied by countries with citizens able to visit 189 countries visa free:
• Finland;
• Italy;
• Luxembourg; and
• Spain.

Austria and Denmark in 2021 were tied for ninth spot on the rankings, with citizens able to visit 188 countries visa-free. This year Austria and Denmark have company in ninth spot, as France, the Netherlands and Sweden are now also able to visit 188 countries without needing a visa – up by one country from last year. 

Other countries ahead of Canada in this year's rankings include Ireland and Portugal, which are tied for 14th spot, with citizens able to visit 187 countries.

Sixteenth spot this year, with countries with citizens able to visit 186 countries visa free, includes: 
• Belgium;
• New Zealand;
• Norway;
• Switzerland;
• the U.K., and
• the U.S.

Visas are needed less today than they were in 2006, when Henley first produced its ranking by using information from the International Air Transport Association. Back then, individuals could on average visit 57 countries without needing a visa. 

Today, citizens of the average country can visit 107 nations without needing a visa.

The gulf, however, has widened through the years between countries with citizens able to visit the most countries visa-free, and those who can visit the least countries visa-free. 

"This overall increase masks a growing disparity between countries in the global north and those in the global south," Henley noted in a release.

Many African nations are clustered near the bottom of Henley's passport rankings.

Afghanistan finished dead last in the ranking in both 2021 and 2022, with its citizens only able to visit 26 countries. • 

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom