Many people often have more than one passport. This phenomenon is common in many countries as the practice is officially authorized - or at least tolerated - in more and more places. However, there are certain countries that forbid the possession of more than one passport. But most countries now at least informally allow dual citizenship. This can be a huge advantage when a country you are visiting requires a visa stamp in one of your passports but not the other. The main way you can get a second passport is by becoming a citizen of another country. (There are some countries that will issue you a passport just for being a "national" which is often conceived of as different from "citizen".) There are many ways that a person can become a citizen of a country.
Visas from around Asia [Public Domain]
- By birth: If you are born in a particular country, you are usually - but not always - a citizen of that country. If one of your parents is a citizen of a different country, this often means you are a dual citizen and therefore entitled to two passports.
- By naturalization: You can become a citizen of a particular country by residing in that country for a certain amount of time or by marrying a citizen of that country, or both. Countries have all sorts of different naturalization rules and regulations and often have different ways of allowing various types of applicants (nationals, permanent residents, temporary residents, etc) to gain citizenship. To be sure, you must check with the country where you are trying to be naturalized.
There are also more unusual ways of becoming a citizen of a particular country. For example, purchasing citizenship. There are countries that sell citizenship to rich foreigners. This is technically naturalization as well, but the process may be quicker than regular naturalization provided you have the funds.
So, now that you know how you can get another passport, what passport should you strive for? An annual survey by Henley and Partners ranks passports by least visas required. That is, the best passport is the one that lets you into the most countries without having to apply for and pay for a visa.
The 2020 Top 32
Citizens of these countries have the most visa-free travel of anyone in the world. If you aren't sure you are a citizen of one of these countries, but you are related to someone from one of them, you might want to look into applying for citizenship.
- Japan, Singapore: 190 countries (97.4% of all countries)
- Finland, Germany, South Korea: 188 (96.4%)
- Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg: 187 (95.9%)
- France, Spain, Sweden: 186 (95.4%)
- Austria, Netherlands, Portugal: 185 (94.9%)
- Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom*, United States: 184 (94.4%)
- Czechia, Malta: 183 (93.8%)
- New Zealand: 182 (93.3%)
- Australia, Lithuania, Slovakia: 181 (92.8%)
- Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia: 180 countries (92.3% of all countries)
*Not for long will the UK be on this list as, with a "no deal" Brexit looking more and more likely, its entirely possible UK citizens will need a visa to visit Schengen area countries (aside from Ireland).
When we last did this list in 2018, the top countries had visa-free access to fewer than 170 countries around the world, so visa policies loosened up a bit. This is a surprise given all the "mass immigration" panic that is going on in the West right now. One possible reason is just randomness - 195 countries are adjusting the visa policies for very specific reasons and sometimes that adds up to more visa-free travel and sometimes it adds up to less. For example, there was a marked decrease in visa-free travel between 2013 and 2018. At the time, we blamed it on the European Refugee Crisis, but it could have just been random.
The 2020 Bottom
The first few countries at the bottom of the list have very little visa-free travel for obvious reasons, the US invaded them or a neighbour in the 21st century.
- Afghanistan: 25 out of approximately 195 sovereign countries - or just over 12.8% - allow Afghan citizens visa-free travel
- Iraq: 27 (13.8%)
- Syria: 29 (14.9%)
- Pakistan, Somalia: 31 (15.9%)
- Yemen: 33 (16.9%)
- Libya, Sudan, Palestine: 37 (19%)
- Nepal: 38 (19.5%)
- Lebanon, North Korea: 39 (20%)
- Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran: 40 (20.5%)
- Kosovo: 41 countries (21.2% of all countries)
With regard to the worst countries for visa-free travel, things have stayed roughly the same since last time we checked in, with nationals of a few countries limited to visa-free travel to less than 15% of countries, but most in the bottom tier closer to 20%.
So there you have it. The best - and the worst - passports to have based on visa-free travel. If you want to check out the full list click here.