Sweden tops global list for visa free travel
The Local · 5 Oct 2013, 12:20
Published: 05 Oct 2013 12:20 GMT+02:00
Nordic neighbours Finland as well as Britain were also joint top of the annual Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index which ranks countries according to the nations their citizens can access just using their passport.
Fellow Scandinavian countries Denmark and Norway were ranked joint second (172 countries) and joint fourth (170 countries respectively. Nine of the top 10 countries are EU members with only the USA breaking the European dominance by being placed joint second with Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg.
The index, which says that there are 219 countries in the world, indicates that EU membership is a vital factor for visa free movement. Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1995.
Passport holders from Afghanistan will encounter the most problems travelling abroad as they were ranked last in the list. Afghan citizens can only visit 28 countries without a visa placing them in 93rd place followed by Iraq (31 countries) and Pakistan and Somalia on 32 countries.
Russia was ranked 41st with 95 countries and a travel expert revealed there are loopholes in visiting the country. Many Swedes travel to Russia on cruise ships which depart from Stockholm without requiring a visa.
"Russian visas remain complex, but if you take a cruise to St Petersburg you can dodge the red tape. The same applies to the 72-hour stopover scheme just introduced by several major gateways to China," said tour operator Neil Taylor to the Independent newspaper in Britain.