South Africa has risen in rank on the latest Passport Index for 2018 as conducted by travel advisor, Henley & Partners. South Africa rose in rank to 50th in the world, meaning South African residents can now travel to a total of 102 visa-free countries.
Speaking to BusinessTech, director of Signal Risk – a political and security risk-management consultancy – Ryan Cummings said that South Africa may climb up the ladder even more than it has on the Passport Index for 2018 in coming years.
He noted that South Africa came down from its 2009 ranking of being at number 35, and attributed this fall to the unlawful replication of South African passport documents.
This replication of passport documents is often caused by corrupt officials within the Department of Home Affairs, resulting in visa regulations being enforced in several countries, including Colombia and the United Kingdom.
“However, the implementation of widespread reforms at the Department of home Affairs 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 African passport over the short to medium term include President Cyril Ramaphosa easing visa regulations for African passport holders (as this will encourage intra-African trade) and deploying an economic envoy to secure $100-billion in direct foreign 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 that South Africans may now travel to visa-free.
Cape Verde Islands*
Hong Kong (SAR China)
Macao (SAR China)
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
* Indicates visa-on-arrival.