New Zealanders have the widest range of access to visa-free countries around the world, according to the annual Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2013. New Zealand ranked fifth just behind the United Kingdom and member countries of the European Union. New Zealand tied with Austria and Switzerland in fifth place in a report which rated countries based on the number of nations its citizens can enter just by presenting a passport.
New Zealand passport
Kiwis with a New Zealand passport can go to 168 countries. Britain, Finland and Sweden top the list of countries with the widest range of passport access. Only the United States ranked among the top 10 countries with access to more than 170 nations. Nine of the countries on the list, which includes Germany, Denmark and Italy, are EU members.
Citizens from the Muslim and Arab nations like Pakistan and Afghanistan have the least access to other countries. Afghans have limited freedom in international travel for their passports will only allow them to enter 28 countries.
China, the world's second largest economy with a 1.3 billion population, ranked 44 on the Visa Restrictions Index 2013, trailing Vietnam, East Timor and Cambodia. India was placed at 52 with limited access to countries than Burkina Faso and Indonesia.
According to the Visa Restrictions Index report, a strong link exists between the citizen's freedom to travel and a country's average wealth. Visa requirements are regarded as a demonstration of the relationships each country has with others in the world. Countries with the widest range of access to visa-free nations reflect their good standing within the community of nations.
Michael Carley, Immigration New Zealand area manager, said Kiwis enjoy more international freedom because the country has special visa waiver agreements with more than 50 nations. The special agreements will help promote tourism.
Mr Carley explained that citizens from visa waiver countries will not need a visitor visa to enter New Zealand for a stay of less than 3 months. UK citizens can also enjoy a visa-free stay of six months.
Top countries with visa-free travel access
1. Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom - access to 173 countries
2. Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, USA - access to 172 countries
3. Belgium, Italy, Netherlands - 171 countries
4. Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain - 170 countries
5. New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland - 168 countries
Source: 2013 Henley & Partners Visa Restriction Index
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