In the 2015 edition of the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, the countries that offer the best residence and citizenship programmes through investment in the world are those that continue to perform strongly in this area: This year Portugal, whose programme was recognised as the best residence through investment scheme, ranked fourth, granting access to 170 countries without a visa; Malta, which has already taken in €1 billion through its Individual Investor Programme, is considered to have the best citizenship through investment programme in the world according to the Global Residence and Citizenship Programmes 2015 publication, moving up to seventh spot by granting access to 167 countries without a visa. All other relevant countries with such programmes were ranked among the best 40, including: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Monaco, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA.
For ten years now Henley & Partners has been a global leader in planning residence and citizenship, annually publishing the “Visa Restrictions Index”, where countries are ranked globally according to the freedom of travel enjoyed by their citizens. In cooperation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an international organisation that brings together airlines from all over the world and maintains the largest travel database in the world, Henley & Partners analyses visa regulations of all countries and territories in the world and creates an index that not only illustrates international travel freedom for citizens, but also examines international relations and the status of countries in relation to one another.
In this year’s ranking, which groups together data gathered over the past ten years, offering an unprecedented and incomparable overview of the development of visa policies over the years, two countries maintained their number one ranking with access to 173 countries without a visa out of a possible 218: Germany and United Kingdom. Finland, Sweden and USA dropped to second place. The four worst passports in the world continue to be those of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan.
Although the world is more globalized, there is still a large disparity in levels of travel freedom among countries. Visa requirements define and regulate the ability of people to cross borders. With the expansion of globalization, residence and citizenship issues have become significant topics of interest among a growing number of internationally mobile entrepreneurs and investors. For Henley & Partners “continued development of these countries shows the critical nature of successful access without a visa for countries that offer immigration programmes for investors.”