For the second straight year, the Colombian passport ranks 50th in the world in terms of the travel power it provides holders, according to Henley & Partners. The ranking is based upon the number of countries that Colombians can visit without obtaining a visa, the main component analyzed by the Jersey-headquartered citizenship and residence advisory company in its “2017 Visa Restrictions Index.”
Though the country has remained steady since last year, it still ranks behind most of its peers in Latin America. Chile (17th), Brazil (18th), and Argentina (20th) lead the region, followed by Mexico (26th), Uruguay (28th), Costa Rica (31st), Venezuela (34th), Paraguay (35th), Panama (36th), Honduras (38th), El Salvador (39th), Guatemala (40th), Peru (41st), Nicaragua (46th), Colombia (50th), Ecuador (57th), Bolivia (64th), Cuba (76th), and the Dominican Republic (80th)
Nevertheless, citizens are still reaping the benefits of recent progress. In December 2015, Colombia was granted a visa-waiver by the European Union, giving it access to 26 “Schengen Zone” nations where Colombians previously had long had to pre-apply for a visa before arriving.
The change was considered a major step forward — both practically and symbolically — for Colombians who have long felt the subject of unfair treatment by foreign security officials due to the nation’s reputation for drug smuggling. President Juan Manuel Santos was proud to announce the change while convening with EU officials to sign the new agreement in December 2015.
“Today’s event is a very important step to recover, in a certain way, our dignity, which we have lost — or at least has been mistreated — with the process of having to request a visa for each country in Europe every time we visited,” said Santos at the time.
In the overall rankings, Germany leads the way with access to visa-free travel to 176 countries. Following close behind are: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain, the United States, Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
“In the 2017 ranking, Germany retains its position at the top of the index for the second year running, with visa-free access to 176 countries out of a possible 218,” stated the report. It added that, “the U.K., however, slips down another position again this year to fourth place, having held first place with Germany for three consecutive years from 2013-2015.”