With Brexit fast approaching and with it concerns over the complexity of visa processing, it seems like an apt time to look at the latest edition of the Henley & Partners Passport Index published at the beginning of October.
Based on IATA data, the index provides a ranking of passports and a travel freedom picture per country, including the type of visa each nationality needs to access the different countries and a review of how passports have changed over the years.
According to the latest data available, if you hold a Japanese passport, you are in luck. Rising sun nationals hold the first position in the ranking and can visit 190 countries without the need to get their passport stamped.
Japan has overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot, which now rates second. Singaporeans enjoy free access to 189 countries. Germany, France, and South Korea are tied in the third position with 188 destinations.
Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, and Spain rank fourth with 187, and Norway, the United Kingdom, Austria, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Portugal and the US fifth with 186.
The US and the United Kingdom dropped one position and, according to Henley & Partners, it is very unlikely that they recover the number one position held in 2015.
The bottom of the ranking is held again by Iraq and Afghanistan. Nationals from these countries can only travel without a visa to 30 destinations.
But what is the impact of a weak passport for a company?
Visas can have a significant cost and, depending on the travel population of a company, they can take a chunk of its travel budget.
And not only that. It’ well-known that time is money, and sometimes getting the necessary documents can take a while.
Or worst, failing to obtain the required authorizations can result in an executive being rejected and sent back home. Oversights happen, but sadly they can end up costing money to companies and putting their employees in the most uncomfortable of situations.
Fortunately, CWT partners with visa experts CIBT, who offer our customers discounts on visa services and an automated email advising when a visa is needed for the next trip. It also contains a link to the CIBT page to proceed with the request.
This saves clients time, allows them to get better prepared for an upcoming trip, avoids the hassle and stress of dealing with last minute requests and reduces the need for urgent visa applications.
So, to be on the safe side, check with your travel management company how it can assist you. Otherwise, you can always apply for Japanese nationality to minimize the risks.
Blog Author: Julian Walker, Head of External Market Communications and PR, Carlson Wagonlit Travel.