Indians Can Travel to 30 Places Visa-Free, Down From 60 Pre-COVID

The Quint
·2-min read

Indian passport holders can only travel to less than 30 destinations around the world currently without a prior visa, compared to having such an access to 61 destinations at the beginning of the year, revealed a study by Henley and Partners, highlighting the impact the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent restrictions has had on global mobility.

"... The pandemic has completely upended the seemingly unshakeable hierarchy of global mobility that has dominated the last few decades, with more change still to come," the global citizenship and residence advisory firm said, based on its research which took into account data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

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For the US, the study showed that American passport-holders could travel to as many as 185 destinations without a prior visa in January, which has dropped down to less than 75 by October.

"As criticism of the country's pandemic response continues to mount, and with the US presidential election just weeks away, the precipitous decline of US passport power and American travel freedom is seen as a clear indication of its altered status in the eyes of the international community," H&P said.

Other countries that witnessed a decline in their access levels on Henley's Passport Index from the pre-COVID to the post-COVID times are Singapore, Brazil and Russia.

“Unsurprisingly, those countries whose coronavirus responses have been criticised for being inadequate have taken the greatest knock when it comes to the travel freedom of their citizens,” the firm said.

"“For citizens of wealthy and democratic countries such as Canada, the UK, the US, and Western European nations, travel freedom is something that has been taken for granted for decades. The pandemic has abruptly changed this, and with the significant loss of access and privilege has come a re-evaluation.”" - Christian H Kaelin, Chairperson, Henley & Partners


According to the Henley Passport Index Global Ranking of 2020, which hadn't considered COVID-19 and its impact, Japan was ranked first with an access level of 191, followed by Singapore (190) at second place, and South Korea (189) and Germany (189) tied at third.

The index ranks the passports of various countries “according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.”

European countries dominated the top 10 rankings, with the US placed seventh with an access level of 185.

India, meanwhile, was ranked 82nd on the list, with an access level of 58.

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