Top 5: World’s most valuable passports for visa-free travel

Top 5: World’s most valuable passports for visa-free travel

While many westerners have relatively unfettered access to visa-free travel to much of the civilized world, all of our talk here about second passports may have made you wonder: “What is the most valuable passport in the world?”

To start, it’s not the United States passport. According to Henley, Americans can access 172 countries visa-free. However, European nationals have a leg up on the rest of the world because they enjoy permanent access to the nations of the EU, whereas foreigners may stay only three out of every six months.

Top 5 Most valuable passports for visa-free travel

Denmark most valuable passports

The Denmark passport is one of the most valuable passports in the world for visa-free travel

5. Denmark
Denmark passport holders have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 172 countries, including basically all of Europe and the Americas. As one of the richest countries on earth, Denmark passport holders also enjoy unfettered access to Europe’s borderless Schengen area. Those plans were called into question in 2011, however, when the Danish government suggested cracking down on its borders to keep out “illegal immigrants and organized crime”. The EU balked at the proposal, which a newly-elected Danish government scrapped later that year.

Most valuable passports include Luxembourg passport

Luxembourg passport: the fourth most valuable passport

4. Luxembourg
Luxembourg passport holders also enjoy visa-free access to 172 countries around the world. However, Luxembourg passport holders enjoy visa-on-arrival access in countries like India, which Danish passport holders do not. According to the IMF and World Bank, Luxembourg was either the richest or second richest nation in the world from by purchasing power parity. Luxemburgians have maintained a low-profile in the world, which has helped them build one of Europe’s most successful offshore banking centers.

UK most valuable passports

United Kingdom: it’s UK passport is the third most valuable in the world, with 173 countries offering its holders visa-free travel

3. United Kingdom
United Kingdom passports have been deemed among the most valuable passports in the world, with 173 countries allowing visa-free access to those traveling with one. According to the Henley survey, that makes the UK passport the winner of a three-way tie. However, the UK is not a member of Europe’s Schengen area, which means British tourists must show their passport when entering continental Europe. UK passport holders must also obtain a visa-on-arrival for several eastern European nations, something some other passports on this list don’t require.

Sweden passport is among the most valuable passports

The Swedish passport: the second most valuable passport in the world

2. Sweden
Sweden’s passport is one of the most respected in the world. In fact, all Nordic countries enjoy excellent visa-free travel options to almost anywhere in the world. With 173 countries open for visa-free travel, having a Swedish passport can come well in handy along with the excellent reputation it offers the traveler. Swedish passport holders can not, however, travel visa-free to India, and enjoy fewer visa-free options than holders of the #1 passport do in Africa and Southeast Asia.

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Finland most valuable passport for visa-free travel

The Finland passport is the world’s most valuable passport for travel. It offers visa-free travel to 173 countries, including some almost no other passport does.

1. Finland
The world’s most transparent nation (and one of my most underestimated economies) also offers the world’s most valuable passport for visa-free travel. While in a three-way tie with Sweden and the United Kingdom, Finland’s passport offers more commonly used visa-free travel options, including India. Finnish passport holders even enjoy visa-free access to Vietnam, a traditionally difficult country to enter.

Which of these passports would you most like to travel with? Share your comments below.

If you want to learn how to get citizenship in a country with a great visa-free travel document, consider joining my private club, The Nomad Society. By doing so, you’ll get instant access to a lot of great resources on not only passports, but other aspects of internationalization. Plus, you’ll be able to meet up with myself and other Society Members around the world.

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Andrew Henderson

Andrew's mission is simple: travel the world to find "boots on the ground" opportunities to share with you. His perpetual travels provide offshore strategies you can apply in your own life to create more wealth, protect what you have, and live more freely. Get his latest intelligence by signing up (it's free).
  • rick

    could you give examples compared with other nation such as germany, france or usa ?

    • http://www.nomadcapitalist.com/ Nomad Capitalist

      Germany would likely be sixth, USA in top ten but debatable. Most countries in EU offer access to 167 countries or more.

      • The Swiss

        Many Southamerican countries have activated the “Visa Reciprocity Law” with USA. That means, you have at least 6 countries that ask for Visa to US-Citizens. That makes maybe, that USA is not even Top 10.

  • rick

    For Finnish People, going to Vietnam isn’t free .They have to buy a visa.

    • http://www.nomadcapitalist.com Andrew Henderson

      I don’t believe they do for tourist stays up to 15 days.

    • http://www.nomadcapitalist.com/ Nomad Capitalist

      Finland passport holders can enter Vietnam for fifteen days as tourists.

      • The Swede

        So can Swedish people. 2 weeks – no visa needed. Very convenient I thought.

        • Even Ørjasæter

          Same with Norway. I’m Norwegian, and went to Vietnam earlier this year. While everyone else was in a visa queue, I just walked right through the security check. Fastest immigration I’ve gone through in any country.

    • Fi

      he didnt say it was free. He just said the process of getting a vietnam visa would be easier

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  • bobsled

    Civilised world wonder what that is…

  • timba

    British tourists DO NOT need to show their passport, when entering rest of the EU. National ID card is accepted https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_identity_cards_in_the_European_Economic_Area

    • AUSinCH

      Did you actually read the Wikipedia page that you linked? The second paragraph there reads: “At present, five European Economic Area member states (Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and United Kingdom) do not issue national identity cards to their citizens. Therefore, EEA member states’ citizens from these five countries can only use a passport as a travel document when visiting other countries in the EEA or Switzerland.”
      Yes, British tourists need to carry their passports to visit the EU, and to re-enter their own country!

      • TurhaaAivanTurhaa

        And Finns do issue national identity cards which are more expensive than passports. Guess which one I carry?

        I don’t see much difference between an ID card and a passport anyways.

        • http://expatmum.blogspot.com/ Expat Mum

          I think the point is, – don’t quote WIKI without studying the sources.

        • taylormadegirl

          TurhaaAivanaTurhaa … There is a huge difference between a passport and a national ID. A passport proves your right to citizenship of a country and all the privileges that come with that right, whereas a national ID does not

          • ptaipale

            I think that needs a clarification. If we talk about Schengen, the national ID cards actually do provide an equal level of proving citizenship in addition to identity. It’s just only recognized officially within Schengen countries, as required by the treaty; but I see no reason why some other country could not state that it will accept a Schengen ID card as travel document (to attract tourists, for instance). Then, on the other hand, some countries do not accept even the passport of another country in any case (most notably Israeli passports to many Arab countries).

            It’s just an agreement between countries, after all: passports are roughly similar in all countries in the world, with pages available for stamping and visas – something that I expect will go away in next decades due to development of IT systems for tracking the movement of people. In Schengen area a simpler card will do, because no visas nor tracking are needed. (It’s not really so simple, of course, because the card needs to be made difficult to forge, and there are the machine readable biometric things, and then there’s the thing that national security agencies anyway want to track people’s movement…)

            Also, there are the alien’s passports, which a country may issue to a resident who has no nationality or nationality of another country which does not issue a passport to him. It provides authentication but not proof of right to citizenship in the issuing country. I am not sure if e.g. Schengen area accepts such documents for crossing borders (for instance, an asylum seeker in Finland who wants to take a day-trip on a boat to Tallinn; I’d think alien’s passports are pretty much one-way one-time for a dedicated purpose only.)

          • taylormadegirl

            Ptaipale, you made some good points. In the end though, the wider nation-state international system still places a higher value on passports due to national security issues and a general acceptance by governments that when a passport is presented, it has been issued according to international norms and customs and the internal procedures of the recognised competent state authority within each country, and should not be refused except in circumstances where a country does not recognise the existence of another, e.g, Some countries do not recognise Israel, or Taiwan, etc. My country for tourism purposes accept persons travelling on a US Alien Resident Card , but those persons would not be given certain rights in our country that would be afforded a person travelling on a US passport

  • hakkebakken

    How about Norway? No other passport evokes such a level of disinterest amongst border guards…

    • http://www.nomadcapitalist.com/ Nomad Capitalist

      I believe Norway is in the third or fourth tier, which are each about one country apart. It’s close. So I think that’s 170 or 171 countries. You’re right; Norway, along with those on this list, don’t raise much interest.

      Although in places like Italy, entire flights of seemingly innocuously passengers often get waived through.

  • Mark

    Actually I do believe that you the correct number for Finland is 177, not 173 as stated in the article. Mut kuiteski, hyvä Suomi! Täältä tullaan! 125 maata vielä kokematta noista 177.. :)

  • Richard

    A good article. But with the greatest of respect, you’re mixing things up a little when you suggest that Schengen has an impact on which is the “best” passport to have. Someone with a passport from a Schengen country will still need to show their passport when they pass into Schengen, and someone with a passport from anywhere else still *won’t* have to show it when they travel within Schengen. It’s unrelated to which passport you have – it’s just a different thing.

    • Jack

      But the difference is that whenever someone from Finland or Sweden travels to or returns from anywhere in the schengen area, they won’t have to show their passport, when someone from the UK leaves the UK for a schengen country or comes back to the UK from a schengen country they will have to show their passport. This of course has nothing to do with visas but is a bit of a hassle.

      • http://expatmum.blogspot.com/ Expat Mum

        Showing a passport isn’t really a hassle. Most people who travel have a passport. Visas might be more of a hassle.

    • Saija

      I’m from Finland and never owned a passport :) Still love to travel to Sweden and Denmark ;) Just don’t need it…

    • Guest

      Here’s the difference. Schengen passport, choose the empty line on the left. Non-Schengen, stand in line for an hour on the right. This is a typical September weekday morning in Paris.

      • http://www.nomadcapitalist.com Andrew Henderson

        Good point.

  • montmartrean

    Yea, I was surprised to have the privilege as a Finnish passport holder to be eligible for tourist visa on arrival in India. Still had to pay for it, but it was obviously much faster and cheaper as no extra fees were due to service providers and time wasted queuing up at embassies. I live in London so would have had to do the process here. Even my carrier didn’t believe me before I showed the print out and that I had the required photos with me. Hardly anybody at the desk at the Indira Gandhi airport – as other countries were Luxembourg, New Zealand, and other small nations.

  • TheSwiss

    SWITZERLAND
    should be in UK´s place. An ex-girlfriend was British and she had a lot
    of trouble in traveling in some third world countries (that usually
    hate whether Uk or US citizen, beacuse of colonnialism or invasion). I
    can tell you all: nobody stops you anywhere with a Swiss passport.

    And what about Norway ???

  • Dominic

    You are just a pathological ignoranr person. There are 196 countries in the world according to the UN. Africa alone has 54 countries and all countries in Africa except south Africa demands visas from EU countries including Finland. Even in Asia countries like Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan, Nepal are not visa free foy Finns and the countries you mentioned. There are countries in South America, Caribbean and Oceania which are not visa for EU citizens. How did you arrive at 173 and 176. When you minus 54 from196 what remains? . Well for your Info, visa free entry is as a result of country to country treaties and in the case of EU block to countries treaties. If Finnish passport holders can travel visa free to 176 countries, then citizens of 176 ccountries can travel visa free to Finland. Its a diplomatic arrangements and have not to do with country’s financial or moral status in the world. Don’t post nonsense online.

    • ptaipale

      Your tone is hostile beyond the reasonable, and your facts are wrong. There are other countries in Africa besides RSA that don’t require a visa from FInnish travellers. At least Tunisia, Morocco, Namibia. Also, one country may agree to let others come in with a visa while it is not permitted the other way round. For instance the case of Vietnam: Finnish tourists don’t need a visa there, but Vietnamese tourist still do need a visa to get to Finland.

      Of course, even though to enter USA you don’t need a visa, you need to get ESTA, which is about as much work as a visa to some countries, so comparisons are not that easy.

      • taylormadegirl

        I agree with ptaipale. I am a visa officer for my country and we have arrangements where in order to attract tourists, we have waived the visa requirements for countries but it is not reciprocated by those countries including all of the EU bloc ( not ‘block’ as Dominic wrote) . There is the relationship among the British commonwealth countries, the Lusophonic countries, ASEAN, CARICOM groupings or blocs that feed into visa policies and intersect with other countries’ policies. So no need to be so belligerent, Dominic.

    • Lollers

      Hahaha get your facts straight before you come to share your great knowledge with others, quite embarrassing for you. You should also check your spelling darling!

    • Olbert

      One month ago travelled to Sri Lanka with Finnish passport without any visa. Just pay some rupees at arrival and enjoy.

    • James

      Butthurt Dominic. Tsk tsk.

    • Tiitii

      What are you so upset about? It would be better if you knew what you were talking about before you argued with people who know better.

    • TT

      Dominic you are, in fact, the ignorant fool here. Not all of the international agreements are bilateral. Many of the conventions allow access to other countries without giving the other party’s citizens the respective right. Countries like Finland and Sweden are number 1 because of two things: EU and the Schengen area. Also, passports in these countries allow access to countries like Vietnam and many African countries like ptaipale mentioned.

  • MaxJay

    There is no evidence in this article to support the claim being by the author, Finnish passport holders need visas to almost all African countries, I know they do not need visas to travel within EU, but certainly they need visas for many countries and the figures mentioned in the article do do not reflect the actual truth on the ground. I wish the author would have listed those countries he is claiming in the article so we know exactly which ones!

  • Nice

    I already have a Finnish one.

  • Kari

    Show me the money!

  • Noah

    Next, what does it cost to obtain each of the above passports?

  • B Sacks

    Where’s the full list?

    • B Sacks

      What about New Zealand?

  • Tero

    You people are so funny. Had a big laugh while reading. Hilarous :)

  • Johanna from Finland

    In my understanding there are different kind of visa procedures too. What I mean is that even if a Finnish passport holder does need a visa (for example when entering Kenya) it can be bought at the airport when entering, just a formality. Not all nationals can buy their visa in the airport but have to get it before travelling and might actually be refused of it. This is just an example, but I would still count the destinations with this kind of “travel tax” visas to be close to “visa free”.

  • threenorns

    hm.. interesting. i can travel on UK, EU, finnish, or canadian passports. basically, as long as i avoid the sandy bits, i’m home free.

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  • George

    Am from the uk and looking at going to Denmark next year for 10 days do I need to get a visa before I go ?

    • M Jackson

      That’s just ignorant.

  • Auma

    It is not useless. some countries need to attract foreign investment in form of tourism and/or ease of doing business. Hence they make it either a simple ‘entry tax’ at the airport or waive visa requirements entirely. Nigeria has mineral resources, other countries have their landscapes as a resource.

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