Visa restrictions play an important role in controlling the movement of foreign nationals across borders. Almost all countries require a visa in the passports of certain non-citizens who wish to enter (or leave) their territory. Thus, it is important to find out before traveling whether you need a visa to enter your destination or transit country.
While visa restrictions are primarily based on citizenship, holding a residence permit may also be relevant. For example, residents in EU countries that are part of the Schengen zone may travel visa-free throughout that zone.
The Schengen area consists of 2 groups of countries:
* 22 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden
* 4 non-EU member states: Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.
Some parts of the world are privileged
The disparity between different citizens' travel possibilities is strikingly large according to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2021. Citizens in the European Union, North America, Singapore, South Korea, and New Zealand and Australia are the most privileged in international travel. The number of countries they can enter visa-free varies in this group from 193 (for Japanese) to 173 (for Bulgarians).
Other parts of the world are less privileged
Russians can travel visa-free to 118 destinations, but most of them cannot afford to travel internationally. The number of travel-free destinations is even lower for Chinese (77). Although Hong Kong is part of China as a Special Administrative Region, its citizens can travel visa-free to considerably more destinations (117).
Bottom of the list
At the bottom of the list are poor countries torn by war and conflict. Citizens of Afghanistan have only 25 visa-free travel destinations, citizens of Iraq 28 and citizens of Syria 29.
Tags: visa, citizenship, residence permit