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Azerbaijan Moves Up In Rankings Of Visa-Free Travel

By Nigar Bayramli July 7, 2019

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Passports in Azerbaijan are issued by the one-stop-shop service center, known as ASAN / Wikipedia

Azerbaijan ranked 78 in the Henley and Partners updated 2019 Passport Index of visa-free travel rankings, as the Caspian region country’s overall score has improved significantly over the 10 years since rankings began in 2009.

The number of destinations where holders of Azerbaijan passport can travel to without a pre-arranged visa increased by 22 new destinations, to reach 66 by 2019, according to the international residence and citizenship planning firm Henley and Partners.

The changes in visa policies of Djibouti and Benin in recent months, however, affected the number of visa-free and visa-on-arrival countries for Azerbaijani passport holders. Azerbaijani citizens should now obtain an electronic visa instead of a visa upon arrival to visit these two African countries.

Due to Azerbaijanis’ access to 66 countries without needing to obtain a visa before traveling include countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Oceania, Azerbaijan ranks 78 among 109 countries in the latest edition of 2019 Passport Index.

The Passport Index ranks the passport power of 199 countries against 227 possible travel destinations, based on data provided by the International Air Transport Association.

Changes in the visa regulations of Djibouti and Benin influenced the position of another Caspian country, namely Russia. Russians can now enter 116 countries without a visa. Russia slipped to 51 from 47 in the updated rankings.

Passports of Japan and Singapore ranked as the world’s strongest for the second year in a row, allowing visa-free travel to 189 countries. South Korea, which was also on the first line three months ago, lost two positions and now ranks second along with Germany and Finland with a visa-free score of 187. The third strongest passports are from Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg, which allow citizens to travel to 186 countries without a visa. 

Changes in the top of the Index are mainly due to the facilitation of the visa policy of Pakistan. In a bid to attract even more tourists and stimulate the national economy, the central government of Islamabad now offers a visa upon arrival to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Switzerland, Spain and Malta.

Visa simplification does not affect Americans or British nationals. Both countries are ranked six, with a 183 visa-free score, which is the worst evaluation they received since 2010.