Henley & Partners, a player in residence and citizenship planning, has published the annual Visa Restrictions Index. Canada is tied for 6th place with visa-free access to 172 countries out of a total of 219 — though this is down from 4th place in 2015 and 2nd place in 2014.
This year, Germany retained its position in the top spot, with visa-free access to 177 countries out of a total of 218, while Sweden remained in second place with a ranking of 176. A larger group of countries sit in third place, with Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the UK all having visa-free access to 175 countries.
Generally, there was significant movement across the board with only 21 of the 199 countries listed remaining in the same rank. No country however, dropped more than three positions, indicating that overall, visa-free access is improving around the world. Four countries in particular made huge gains; Tonga rising 16 spots, Palau by 20, Colombia by 25 and Timor-Leste being the highest climber with an increase of 33 ranks.
Malta, the EU member country which runs the world’s most successful citizenship-by-investment program has gained visa-free access to another two countries since 2015, making it the 8th most powerful passport in the world. The leading country in the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda, meanwhile 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, has taken 6th position in the 2016 Index, gaining two countries to total 172 countries its citizens may travel to visa-free.