What do they mean by “best passport?” The criteria was simple: which country’s passport could get their citizens into the most countries without a visa.
Okay, that seems really silly, especially since it’s not as if we get to choose which country’s passport we want to use. But I’ll play along.
Best countries to have a passport from
1. UK, Finland, Sweden (number of visa-free countries 173)
2. Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, USA (172)
3. Belgium, Italy, Netherlands (171)
4. Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain (170)
5. New Zealand, Switzerland, Austria (168)
6. Australia, Greece, Singapore (167)
7. South Korea (166)
8. Iceland (165)
9. Malaysia, Malta (163)
10. Liechtenstein (159)
… and the worst
Pakistan, Somalia (32)
What was more interesting to me was not the countries I could get into without a visa, but which ones still required me to get one. I understand places like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the like…..but Australia? Makes no sense. (Yes, I know we require a visa from the Aussies but you would think we’d have done away with this by now.)
And then there were the countries that don’t require a visa from us but we still require a visa from them. Argentina and Chile are two examples. And neither one of those governments is thrilled with the lopsidedness.
Rather than requiring U.S. Citizens to get a visa, they are charged an entrance fee of $160. This is exactly what a U.S. visa costs for them. Australians and Canadians also have to pay but different rates.
This, of course, has sparked lots of discussions on how to get around the fee. In Argentina, the fee is only collected at the Buenos Aires airports. So, if visitor flies to say Paraguay, then takes a 10-12 hour bus ride into Argentina, he won’t have to pay the $160.
If my choice is a 12 hour bus ride, or paying $160, I’ll pay the fee.
As I plan “The Adventure,” I realize that a few of the countries I had hoped to visit require a difficult to get visa. In some cases I have to mail in my passport to the country’s embassy or consulate and wait weeks for an answer.
That means no passport and limited travel.
I guess some of those countries will either be bypassed all together or postponed to a more opportune time.