South Africa on world’s top 51 most powerful passports list


South African citizens have visa-free access to no fewer than 97 of the world’s 194 countries – earning the passport a ranking of 42 out of 51 on travel site GoEuro’s ‘Ultimate Passport’ list.

South Africa passport

Brand South Africa reporter

GoEuro, the European-based rail, air, bus and car search and booking engine, has ranked passports from 51 countries to uncover which nationalities’ passports are the most useful when it comes to travel.

The survey ranked passports on visa-free access as well as the ease of obtaining the passport – which included factors such as the cost of a passport, the length it remains valid, and the amount of time a citizen must work to obtain the passport.

“All factors were weighted and scored to produce the ultimate passport ranking,” GoEuro said.
GoEuro's Ultimate Passport ranking
South Africa is ranked 42nd out of the top 51 countries, down one spot from 41st in 2014. South African citizens have visa-free access to no fewer than 97 of the world’s 194 countries.

South Africans need to work an estimated 32 hours at minimum wage to afford the application fee of R400 required by the Department of Home Affairs.

GoEuro’s analysis shows the five nations with the most powerful passports are Sweden, Finland, Germany, UK, and the US with 174 visa-free countries.

Most but not all countries need a passport for Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Benin, Burundi, Chad, China, Iraq, Mozambique, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen.

The top 10 most powerful passports in the world are:

  1. Sweden: 174 visa-free countries, $43, 1 hour worked
  2. Finalnd: 174 visa-free countries,$56 5 hours worked
  3. Germany: 174 visa-free countries, $69, 7 hours worked
  4. United Kingdom: 174-visa free countries, $110, 11 hours worked
  5. USA: 174 visa-free countries, $135, 19 hours worked
  6. Denmark: 173 visa-free countries, $133, 15 hours worked
  7. Canada: 173 visa-free countries, $133, 15 hours worked
  8. Spain: 172 visa-free countries, $30, 5 hours worked
  9. Belgium: 172 visa-free countries, $76, 8 hours worked
  10. Netherlands: 172 visa-free countries, $78, 8 hours worked

Countries SA passport holders can visit without a visa


Most SADC countries are accessible to South Africans without a visa – as long as they’re going there for holiday. Any form of work – even volunteering – requires some kind of visa so always check before leaving home.

African countries South Africans can enter without visas: Benin, Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

African countries where South African citizens get a visa on arrival: Cape Verde, Comoros, Egypt, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Tongo, Tunisia and Uganda

South and Central America

Most of South and Central America is accessible to South Africans.

South and Central American countries South Africans can enter without visas: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay and Venezuela.

South Africans will need a visa to visit, among others: Suriname, French Guiana, Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

North America

Visas are required to visit the United States and Canada. See the US Embassay’s guide to applying for a US visa.


While most European countries require South Africans to have a visa, there are a few exceptions: Ireland, Kosovo and France’s Reunion Island.


South Africans can visit Georgia, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand without a visa.

South Africans will be granted a visa on arrival in: Armenia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Timor-Leste.

Middle East

South Africans do not need a visa to visit Israel and Jordan. Oman and Turkey will grant visas on arrival.


No visa is required when visiting the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated states of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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