Friday, August 5, 2016

Website provides travelers simple access to international visa requirements

Thanks to a couple of tense moments over my last few international trips when airline personnel asked for visas I knew I didn’t need, I have become much more conscious about how misunderstood visa requirements can be. Now, a new online tool makes it a snap (or click or tap) to track down whether a visa is required for your upcoming sojourn.

The tool is called Passport Index and is about as user-friendly as possible. Visitors to the site at www.passportindex.org are greeted by a page with pictures of all the world’s passports. Web surfers can put in the name of a country to see that jurisdiction’s passport up close.

landing page, PassportIndex.org, passports, visa requirements
Screen shot of landing page
But the site’s greatest value is showing which countries will require a visitor to have a visa in advance, which issue them upon arrival, and which do not require visas. To find that information, visitors click the button in the upper right corner that says “Compare” to be taken to a page that will generate a graphic display based on the traveler’s passport or destination.

The site is particularly helpful when two or more people traveling together are from different countries. The site allows visitors to enter several countries of origin, then generates color-coded results for each country that are displayed side by side.

Another option allows visitors to see only those countries where the visa requirements are different for the various travelers in their party. Americans, for example can travel to Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan visa-free while Canadian citizens are required to have visas. By contrast, Americans traveling to Venezuela are required to have visas while Canadians travel visa-free.

The site also contains some interesting tidbits of information, including ranking the world’s passports by their total visa-free scores.

The world’s most powerful passports

Passports that allow their holders access to the most countries without the need for visa are Germany and Sweden, which both have visa-free access to 158 countries. Finland, France, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are second, allowing access to 157 countries while Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and South Korea are third, with access to 156 countries without visas.

The world’s fourth most powerful passports, allowing access to 155 countries, are Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal, Singapore and the United States. Fifth are the passports of Greece, Ireland and Japan, which provide visa-free access to 154 countries. My Canadian colleague as well as travelers from New Zealand hold the world’s sixth most powerful passports, with access to 153 countries without the need for visas.

At the bottom of the rankings are the passports of Syria (32 countries), Somalia (31), Iraq (30), Pakistan (27) and Afghanistan (24).

Finally, the site also contains some fun features by clicking the “Discover” tab, including a link to an article about the world’s seven “coolest passports.” While such lists are, by nature, subjective and depend in huge measure on what the writer thinks constitutes “cool,” I have to agree that the Finnish passport has a feature that is just plain fun, with a flip-book depiction of a moose walking.


Be sure to visit PassportIndex.org before your next international trip for some useful information presented in a very user-friendly format.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger images

1 comment:

  1. This is highly informatics, crisp and clear. I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things.

    ReplyDelete

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