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South Africans may soon be able to travel to more countries visa-free

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Travel advisors Henley & Partners has released its latest Passport Index for 2018.

According to the global citizenship and residence advisory firm, South Africa has improved its ranking – rising to 50th in the world – with its local passport now allowing residents to travel to 102 countries visa-free.

However this may climb even higher in the coming years according to Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk, a political and security risk-management consultancy based in South Africa.

Cummings noted that South Africa saw its ranking spiral downward from 35th in 2009, due to concerns over the unlawful replication of South African passports documents.

He added that this replication was often abetted by corrupt officials within the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA), and these concerns saw visa regulations being enforced by several countries, including the UK and Colombia.

“However, the implementation of widespread reforms at the DOHA since 2014 – focused on improving security features both in the application process and within the passport document itself – is expected to enhance confidence in the South African passport and may relax visa restrictions for its holders going forward,” he said.

“Other factors that could strengthen the South Africa passport over the short-to-medium-term include President Cyril Ramaphosa’s intention to ease visa restrictions for African passport holders so as to induce greater intra-Africa trade, in addition to his deployment of an economic envoy with the mandate of securing USD 100 billion in foreign direct investment.”

“Both of these developments are expected to bring about an uptick in the signing of bilateral visa-waiver agreements between South Africa and its trade partners, as a means of facilitating ease of trade and commerce,” Cummings said.

Below are the countries you can travel to visa-free right now.


* Indicates visa on arrival or eTA.

Africa 

Angola Lesotho Somalia*
Benin* Madagascar* St. Helena*
Botswana Malawi Swaziland
Cape Verde Islands* Mauritania* Tanzania
Comores Islands* Mauritius Togo*
Djibouti* Mozambique Tunisia
Ethiopia* Namibia Uganda*
Gabon* Reunion Zambia*
Ghana* Rwanda* Zimbabwe
Guinea-Bissau* Senegal  
Kenya Seychelles*  

Asia 

Cambodia* Malaysia Sri Lanka*
Hong Kong (SAR China) Maldives* Tajikistan*
Indonesia Nepal* Thailand
Kyrgyzstan* Philippines Timor-Leste*
Laos* Singapore  
Macao (SAR China) South Korea  

Europe 

Ireland Kosovo Russian Federation

Oceania

Cook Islands Palau Islands* Vanuatu
Micronesia Samoa*  
Niue Tuvalu*  

Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda Dominica St. Lucia
Bahamas Dominican Republic St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Barbados Grenada Trinidad and Tobago
British Virgin Islands Haiti Turks and Caicos Islands
Cayman Islands St. Kitts and Nevis  

Americas

Argentina Ecuador Paraguay
Belize El Salvador Peru
Bolivia Falkland Islands Uruguay
Brazil Guatemala Venezuela
Chile Nicaragua  
Costa Rica Panama  

Middle East/Other

Armenia* Israel Palestinian Territory
Georgia Jordan* Qatar
Iran* Oman* Turkey*
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