Passports marked with the words “European Union” have been rated among the world’s most powerful for many years now. Passport holders of the 28 Member Countries or the EU associate countries – Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland – have enjoyed visa-free travel, with a travel authorization or a visa-on-arrival, to most of the world countries. Passports rank
An update of passport indexes for 2020 foresaw that countries as Germany, Finland and Italy, alongside with some Asian countries as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, would top the table of world’s most powerful passports, in which table are listed about 200 world countries.
“In 2020, German passport holders are capable of travelling to 189 world countries visa-free or with a visa on arrival for tourism or commercial purposes, while Finns and Italians are capable of visiting only one country less – 188. Unlike last October when Germany and Finland were both in the second spot with their citizens eligible to visit 188 world countries visa-free or with a visa on arrival, now Germany is listed in the third spot and Finland in the fourth,” SchengenVisaInfo.com had reported at the beginning of the year.
However, a series of events all caused by the novel Coronavirus pandemic have ‘drained’ the power of these countries’ passports, dragging them at the same level with a large share of world’s passports, and maybe in the following days, to the bottom.
Closed Borders Make Passport Power Meaningless
After the World Health Organization announced that the EU was no longer considered an infected area, but rather the epicentre of the outbreak, many world countries shut their borders for all EU/EEA passport holders. Even travellers that had recently been to this territory were banned.
Most countries that at first had shut their doors closed to China went on to close their doors to EU and the associate countries, including the United States, India, and even countries in the Western Balkans.
The Asian countries, Japan and Singapore, which for over a year now have held the first spot as the most powerful passports in the world in terms of visa-free travelling, are no exception. As many countries go into full lockdown – as Argentina, Chile, Lebanon, Brazil, Indonesia, Angola, Colombia, even Russia – allowing no foreigner to cross their borders, the lists of passport power become as meaningless as they can be.
With the EU now also wholly sealed off for foreign travellers attempting to enter the territory for non-essential trips, and restricting their citizens from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons, right now, it is the same as having an Afghan or German passport.
Those holding Italian passports cannot go anywhere. Not even to the neighbouring countries. Not even to the Vatican which is literally landlocked within Italy. The same applies to Spaniards.
The power of any world passport has faded, and with travel restrictions in place in most world countries, the power of some of these passport equals to not having a passport at all.
All of a sudden, every world passport is ranked equally, almost worthless.
Good Old Days of Glory for EU Passports Passports rank
Experts had foreseen that the EU passports would remain in power in 2020. Right before the outbreak of the COVID-19, German passport holders could travel to 189 world countries visa-free or with a visa on arrival for tourism or commercial purposes.
On the other hand, Finns and Italians were capable of visiting only one country less – 188.
Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain followed right after, with their citizens being able to visit 187 countries in 2020 without the hurdles of getting a visa in advance, while the French and Swedish EU passport holders could visit 186 countries.
Other EU/Schengen Members listed in the top 10 first positions of the overall passport power list:
- 7th – Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland – 185 countries
- 8th – Belgium, Greece, Norway, United Kingdom – 184 countries
- 9th – Australia, Czech Republic, Malta – 183 countries
- 10th – Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia – 181 countries
“Walking in Other Countries’ Shoes” Passports rank
World’s most powerful countries for a long time now have been applying strict entry conditions for a large share of other, less developed countries.
The application procedures include collecting several documents and attending an interview, which is all time-consuming and energy-draining. While getting a tourist or business visa to the EU costs at least EUR 80, a UK visa for the same purposes is at least EUR 100. In addition to the visa fees, applicants often need to pay for extra service fees.
Reaching a visa-free travel agreement with the US is almost impossible, as even the citizens of some EU countries as Croatians and Bulgarians still have to get a visa to travel to America. On the other hand, the process of reaching a visa-liberalization with the EU may be a little bit more defined, but the process can also be extended indefinitely, as it has happened with Kosovo.
The citizens of the latter have travelled visa-free to only about 40 countries, including their neighbours, despite it being located in Europe. Kosovo’s government has been trying to reach an agreement on visa-free travel with the EU for 12 years now, but they have not even signed a visa facilitation deal still.
The Coronavirus-lockdown may be a period of reflection, that may allow these countries to see the unreasonable struggles third-country nationals encounter to travel, and facilitate these procedures. Passports rank