(CNN) — The closure of airspace due to Russian military aggression and the opening of borders to Ukrainian refugees have begun to have an impact on freedom of movement around the world, according to the latest data from the world’s most travel-friendly passports.
While at the top of the list of countries with so-called strong passports, that is, the countries with the most visa-free travel opportunities around the world, little has changed, the recent conflict is starting to shake things up at the bottom of the list. an index compiled by Henley & Partners, a London-based citizenship and residence consulting firm.
Since the start of the war in late February, many countries have either changed their entry policies or completely eliminated visa requirements for Ukrainian passport holders, meaning Ukraine has risen to an all-time high in the report.
Meanwhile, the European Union, the United States and Canada have banned Russian operators from flying in their airspace, and some destinations are no longer issuing visas to Russian citizens, “virtually dooming the Russian passport to junk status in much of the developed world,” the report said. says Henley & Partners.
While this has not yet had a significant impact on Russia’s position on the list, the report suggests that this may change in the coming months.
In the list for the second quarter of 2022, Ukraine has moved up one position to 34th place in the ranking, and its citizens can now travel to 143 destinations without a visa (or with a visa on arrival). Russia dropped four spots to 49th with open travel to 117 countries – a position expected to worsen as the visa suspension and sanctions are formalized.
According to the report, the latest shake-up clearly points to “the profound and possibly irreversible impact of the war on freedom of movement.”
The top of the index remains the same as before, with Japan and Singapore tied for first place. Holders of these passports can theoretically travel to 192 destinations without a visa, but it’s worth noting that this doesn’t take into account time limits.
Afghan citizens are once again at the bottom of the rankings and can only enter 26 countries without a prior visa.
Europe dominates again
Further down the top 10, South Korea is still tied for second with Germany with a score of 190, while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain together are in third with a score of 189.
While Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden are tied for fourth place with 188 points, France has dropped to fifth place.
The UK, which lifted all remaining Covid-19-related restrictions last month, moved up one position to fifth, finishing alongside France and Ireland and Portugal with 117 points.
The United States remains in sixth place with 186 points, tied with Belgium, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.
No change in seventh place: Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Greece and Malta are back together with 185 points.
In eighth place is Hungary with 183 points, while Poland has dropped from eighth to ninth on the list, sharing with Lithuania and Slovakia with 182 points. Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia round out the top ten. , with a score of 181.
Germany holds the highest ranking European passport.
Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Climate change bias fears
The report notes that the Russian-Ukrainian situation has become a stark reminder of the volatile world, how violence and conflict can lead to mass displacement, and how much your passport can affect your situation.
“As the value of a Russian passport plummets and the world opens its doors to Ukrainians, it is clear that the passport you hold determines your destiny and greatly influences your opportunities,” wrote Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and creator of the concept of the passport index.
“While it is impossible to predict what the world will look like in the shadow of a new Cold War, the latest index suggests that the gap between Russia and much of the Western world will only widen.”
However, the evidence also suggests that the effects of climate change will drive population displacement over the next 25 years, especially in less economically developed countries.
Prof. Dr. Khalid Koser, Executive Director of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), a non-profit organization and board member of the Andan Foundation in Switzerland, which supports displaced people, notes that 15 times more people have died due to floods and droughts. , and storms “in very vulnerable regions, including parts of Africa, South Asia, Central and South America” than in the rest of the world.
Experts also point out that we are likely to see a significant increase in international travel, which has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Projections suggest that by 2050 the demand for passenger transport will be 10 billion people, which is significantly more than before the pandemic, when the figure was about four billion.
According to Sebastian Mikosh, vice president of environment and sustainability at IATA, this growth is likely to come from “passengers who have never had the opportunity to fly before: in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”
“Before the next generation of passengers, we have an obligation to find sustainable solutions so that they can enjoy and benefit from air travel, as we have done so far,” adds Mikos.
Best passports to keep in 2022:
1. Japan, Singapore (192 destinations)
2. Germany, South Korea (190)
3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (189)
4. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden (188)
5. France, Ireland, Portugal, UK (187)
6. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, USA (186)
7. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185)
8. Hungary (183)
9. Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia (182)
10. Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia (181)
Worst passports to keep
Some countries in the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to less than 40 countries. This includes:
105. North Korea (39 destinations)
106. Nepal and Palestinian territories (37)
107. Somalia (34)
108. Yemen (33)
109. Pakistan (31)
110. Syria (29)
111. Iraq (28)
112. Afghanistan (26)
The Henley & Partner list is one of several indexes created by financial companies to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.
The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports based on the number of destinations their holders can travel to without a prior visa. It is updated in real time throughout the year as changes to the visa policy come into effect.
In its 2022 index, the United Arab Emirates ranks first with a visa waiver/visa on arrival score of 160.