Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, eight countries have responded by opening their borders to visa-free travel by Ukrainian nationals, continuing a trend that includes a 2017 EU rule extending visa-free travel to Ukrainians visiting Western Europe’s Schengen zone. These developments and more have placed Ukraine among the three countries whose passports have increased the most in value – in the sense of allowing travel to the most countries visa-free – in the last decade.
Although there are no official rules for determining visa policies, factors including diplomatic relations, tourism trends, and rates of illegal immigration from a target country play a role. Certain affluent countries, including Japan, the U.S., and the U.K. have powerful passports that allow their citizens visa-free travel to over 180 countries. Meanwhile, Afghanistan has the weakest, allowing visa-free admittance to only 27 other nations. (Here’s a list of countries with the worse passports.)
To determine which countries’ passports have increased the most in value over the past 10 years, in terms of the number of other countries holders may visit visa-free, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study conducted by the investment migration site Global Residence Index.
All but one of the countries whose passports have increased the most in value are considered developing nations. According to a representative from the Global Residence Index, “Being able to travel for leisure and business is pivotal in the development and growth of nations and individuals. Passports are supposed to represent freedom, and it’s in the governments’ interests to make that freedom as accessible as possible.”
Many of these nations are in the Caribbean. Passports from St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines offer access to over 140 countries. A recent push by various Caribbean governments advertising Citizenship by Investment (CBI) has attracted wealthy foreigners who choose to invest in real estate or government funds in the Caribbean in exchange for dual citizenship and all the perks that these passports have to offer.
A handful of countries on the list are in Europe and South America, while the United Arab Emirates has seen the most increase in value in the last decade. As the UAE has recently allowed foreigners to apply for dual citizenship, an influx of rich and famous people, as well as liberal visa policies, have improved the nation’s international relations and strengthened its passport in the process. (These are the countries that will grow the most in the 21st century.)
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