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Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.

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Global Citizen • Second Passport

The 10 Worst Passports in 2024 (And Why They’re So Bad)

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A passport is both a material and symbolic representation of national identity. On the one hand, it serves the practical purpose of identifying who we are and where we can travel; on the other, it signifies the power, privileges, and rights accompanying it, whether real or perceived. 

Having a powerful passport opens more doors, removing borders that can improve our lives. Aside from their prestige, strong passports ensure the owner has access to the world, granting them the right to visit other nations, stay for prolonged periods and pursue new opportunities.

However, simply having a passport isn’t enough. You need a passport that offers growth, financial stability, security and the freedom to traverse the world with few restrictions. 

In other words, not all passports are created equal.

Having an inferior passport can actually create roadblocks to your freedom. That’s why it’s so important to understand the power of expanding your passport portfolio by being able to weigh up the options.

Investing in a Second Passport

The Nomad Capitalist lifestyle is about having the freedom to go where you’re treated best by pursuing the global opportunities that matter to you. Our team helps you make the most of offshoring opportunities and citizenship options worldwide.

Doing so affords you extra protection and a second passport is a must for high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals like yourself. Diversification cushions you from the effects of volatile markets, man-made and natural disasters and political unrest.

Residence and Citizenship by Investment

While many investors and entrepreneurs understand the benefits of asset diversification, many overlook the importance of international diversification. 

At Nomad Capitalist, we believe that having:

  • One powerful passport is essential
  • Two passports is good
  • Multiple passports is the best of all worlds. 

Why have just one passport when you can have a selection with the best tax planning, investment and asset protection options available? 

Many countries have their own residence and citizenship investment programs to attract foreign investors who bring prosperity and jobs. 

It’s important to be smart when choosing your second, third, or tenth passport. We have lots of helpful guides on how to obtain your next passport and ensure it ticks all the boxes. So, check out our guides to citizenship by investment and citizenship by descent, or better still, contact us here to begin the conversation.  

Expand Your Passport Portfolio

What’s The Worst Passport in The World?

If you’re from the West, it’s likely that, in global terms, you have one of the stronger passports available. For example, having a United States, Canadian, Australian, United Kingdom, or European Union passport is never a bad thing. 

But what if circumstances change? What if high-tax policies are eroding your wealth? What if you want to make lifestyle changes or have more money to enjoy now and pass on to your children? Having options around residence or citizenship is very much part of the bigger picture. 

Of course, you may have a second- or even third-tier passport that limits your visa-free access to certain countries and provides all but the basics in travel privileges. 

When it comes to passports, ignorance is certainly not bliss and it pays to know the facts. 

That’s why our Nomad Capitalist team created a passport ranking criteria using extensive research to determine the ranking score for the world’s passports based on three things:

1. Travel Mobility

This applies to the number of countries a passport holder can enter without needing a prior visa. A visa-free score is assigned based on the number of destinations a passport can access visa-free, visa-on-arrival access and via electronic travel authority.

2. Opportunities for Investment

The country’s economic stability – if the country’s external environment is conducive to investing. Specifically, offshoring, starting a business or buying assets.

3. Viability for a Second Residency

This criterion explores how likely you will want to live in a place. We base this on the quality of life, culture and other factors that contribute to the desire to live or visit a given location. 

To save you some valuable time, we’ve compiled a list of passports and places you’re likely to want to avoid. 

10. Iran 

Visa-free score: 55

Iran does not rank favourably on our list, although it is not the worst in terms of taxation and travel. That said, we do not recommend it in part because it imposes restrictions on your ability to travel due to conflicts between the West and Iran, which have only increased as of 2024. 

Additionally, security in the nation is poor, with the US Department of State issuing a strict warning not to travel to Iran for any reason because of concerns over terrorism and kidnappings. 

Travellers holding an Iranian passport can travel visa-free to 11 countries, 39 countries after obtaining a visa on arrival, and five countries with an electronic travel authorisation (eTA). 

Iran flag

9. Libya

Visa-free score: 52

Libya’s low passport ranking is mainly attributed to government instability and security concerns. Libyan passport holders have visa-free access to 51 countries, most of which are in Africa. However, the European Schengen Area countries and the US require Libyan passport holders to obtain a visa in advance to travel there. 

Libya currently has a level four ‘do not travel ‘ advisory ranking from the US Department of State. Libyan passport holders can access just 13 countries without a visa, 35 countries after obtaining a visa on arrival and four countries that require an eTA. 

Libya is far from the worlds most powerful passports.

8. Somalia

Visa-free score: 46

Somalia doesn’t rank well because its passport offers very little. Civil unrest, health issues, poverty, kidnapping and other security threats are all issues in the East African country. 

Somalia passport holders can travel visa-free to some neighbouring African countries. They can also visit Dominica, Haiti, Micronesia, Malaysia, and Benin. In addition, some countries in Asia and Oceania offer visas on arrival.

The UK, the US, Canada, and New Zealand do not recognise Somalia’s passport, severely limiting global access.

Somalia has been at the bottom of the passport index for quite some time

7. North Korea

Visa-free score: 52

Since most North Koreans are not allowed to leave their country, this passport is rarely even issued. As a result, most North Koreans find it impossible to travel overseas. Overseas travel requires permission from North Korea’s supreme leader and is often for work. 

Despite having a very restrictive government, North Korean passport holders can get visa-free access to Surinam, Guyana, the Kyrgyz Republic and certain Caribbean locations. It can also afford passport holders visa-on-arrival in some African and Asian jurisdictions.

North Korea has the worst passports in the world

6. Syria

Visa-free score: 39

Armed conflict and terrorism are the main factors why Syria’s passport should be avoided. Additionally, Syria’s proximity to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impacts the nation’s security. 

Syrian passport holders can access six countries without a visa, including Iran, Malaysia, and Haiti. However, all countries in Europe and the Americas require Syrian passport holders to obtain a visa. Moreover, though allowed, most visitors from Syria will not be permitted entry to Australia.  

Syria remains at the bottom of the passport index despite climbing one spot.

5. Pakistan

Visa-free score: 46

Pakistan is a mid-ranking country in our list of worst passports, mainly due to its terrorist links. Other reasons include weak government, poverty and the threat of some Pakistan passport holders overstaying their visas.

Currently, Pakistani passport holders have visa-free access to nine countries, including Dominica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago. Several African, and a couple of South American, countries offer visas on arrival to Pakistan passport holders. 

Pakistan is at the opposite end of the best passport in the world ranking

4. Eritrea

Visa-free score: 53

Although Eritrea has a slightly higher travel score than some countries on the list, it does not have a good overall ranking. It is not the least safe country with a level two travel advisory, but it does suffer from internal issues and violence. Additionally, Eritrea’s economy is not doing well and continues to suffer from debt distress. 

Eritrean passport holders can enjoy visa-free access to a total of ten countries, including Ghana and Benin. It also grants access to 39 countries with visas upon arrival, including Bolivia, Iran and Suriname. 

3. Yemen

Visa-free score: 47

The war in Yemen devastated the population, causing widespread famine and civil unrest, which is partly the reason for Yemen’s passport ranking. Thus, there are very few flight connections. Those with a Yemen passport have visa-free access to nine countries, including Sudan and Malaysia. Additionally, it allows visa-on-arrival access to 33 countries. 

And though the European Union and the UK recognise Yemen passports, entry requires holders to secure an appropriate visa before arrival.

There are also restrictions on travel to the US, Canada and Australia. As a result, most travellers will likely not be allowed passage to these nations.

Yemen remains at the bottom of the passport index

2. Iraq

Visa-free score: 42

With terrorism an ever-present threat, Iraq’s passport is the second worst passport to have in 2024. To make matters worse, political instability, poverty and complicated social issues all contribute to the weakening of the Iraqi passport. 

Only a handful of territories, including Malaysia, Iran and Zambia, allow visa-free access.

Iraq will not be joining the list of best passports in the world list anytime soon

1. Afghanistan

Visa-free score: 40

The worst passport in the world belongs to Afghanistan – a position it has held for some time.  Political upheaval, conflict and civil unrest are a fact of life there and with ongoing issues of terrorism, the country has limited diplomatic ties.

Limited relations with other nations mean Afghanistan passport holders can only travel to a handful of destinations without a visa, and visa-on-arrival is required for some destinations in Africa and other parts of the world, like the Maldives, Palau and Tuvalu. However, travel to the US is only allowed for those who hold Afghan diplomatic passports.

The worst passport in the world belongs to Afghanistan.

Let Us Help with Your International Travel Plans

At Nomad Capitalist, we usually advise that if you have access to an additional passport, you should go ahead and take it. This is especially true with citizenship by descent, which is usually for nations with coveted citizenships like Italy, Spain, Ireland, Poland, and Greece, for example.  

However, even gaining citizenship by descent can be complicated and not a process you should try to navigate alone – never mind accessing citizenship by investment. 

That’s why Nomad Capitalist is here – to take care of everything for you. We can help you get a citizenship program tailored to your needs and lifestyle. So, reach out to our team to help you go where you’re treated best.

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