Each year the Henley index ranks the world’s passports according to how many countries its holder may enter without having to organise a visa ahead of time.
According to the full list published on Henley’s website, Australian passport holders may enter a grand total of 189 countries visa-free. Four more than last year when the number was 185. Improvement!
This number has us tied for sixth place overall, up from eighth in 2023.
The elusive title of rank number one was a six-way tie between last year’s winner Japan, alongside France, Germany, Italy, Singapore and Spain. All of whom are permitted to visit 194 countries without a prior visa.
Finland, Sweden and South Korea tied for the silver medal on 193.
Tied in the bronze medal position we have Austria, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands on 192.
Australia and our trans-Tasman rival New Zealand tied for sixth place beside Poland and Czechia with 189 countries. The Kiwis beat us last year so this is a welcome update.
Other points of interest include the USA placing equal seventh alongside Canada, and the UK nabbing equal fourth.
At the other end of the ranking snagging the bottom rank was Afghanistan for the second year in a row. Afghanistan passport holders can only visit 28 countries visa-free.
Perched just above was Syria with 29, Iraq with 31, Pakistan with 34 and Yemen with 35.
So, you might be wondering how different countries decide which passport holders to let in visa-free.
Well, the most simplistic answer would be that has to do with diplomatic relations.
If two countries have excellent diplomatic relations between their governments, they’re more likely to permit entry to one another’s citizens without the hassle of extensive visa application paperwork.
A good example of this would be Australia and New Zealand.
Aussies arriving in NZ can pretty much just skip to the front of the queue whereas passport holders from other nations may need to show further documentation.
The only bad news for Aussies is that from 2024, our passports are skyrocketing in price. *Gulp*.
BUT, to balance that out, we’ve compiled plenty of cheap flight hacks on PEDESTRIAN.TV, starting with this one.