We hold one of the world's best passports, for what it's worth

My passport runs out this year and I almost feel as if it’s worth putting off renewing it until the coast is clear of COVID.

That said, I’ll be going through the motions just in case there’s a chance I can sneak offshore.

There are, after all 185 destinations happy to have us Aussies visit under normal circumstances, or so says the Henley Passport Index.

However, some of those countries won’t let us in right now. Australia’s handling of the pandemic has them worried we’ll carry the virus across shores.

Recently, we’ve enjoyed Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) rights with Singapore. The VTL allows eligible vaccinated travellers to enter Singapore without quarantine.

Read more: Singapore 80 per cent vaccinated but life not returning to normal

But Singapore has ‘slung’ us from the list, suspending our VTL privileges until 20 January and capping VTL tickets at 50 per cent after that date.

We can still visit Bali via Jakarta, not on a non-stop flight to Denpasar. New Zealanders, on the other hand, can fly non-stop to Bali if there were non-stop flights between the two nations. A handful of other countries may also directly enter Bali.

Hong Kong now views Australia in the “Group A – High risk places”, which prevents anyone who has been in Australia in the previous 21 days from entry unless they’re a fully vaccinated Hong Kong resident.

Read more: How Hong Kong is using COVID-19 to reinvent tourism

While Australia is ‘perceived’ as managing COVID better than most OECD countries, we’ve still been given a level three “COVID-19 High” rating. This puts us in the same category as Singapore, South Korea and Chile, but is better than North America and pretty much all of Europe.

Once our current shortcomings on the pandemic management front have been overcome, we should again be granted visa-free entry to the 185 countries on this list. We’re lucky to be the holders of a pretty powerful passport.

Our passport sits in seventh with Canada, Greece, Malta and the Czech Republic.

But there are better passports. Japan and Singapore can, in normal times, access 192 countries visa-free. The New Zealand passport ranks sixth with the UK, US, Switzerland, Norway and Belgium.

Read more: New Zealand’s five best Airbnbs

The worst passport, with visa-free access to only 26 destinations belongs to Afghanistan.

The top 10 passports to hold in 2022 are:

  1. Japan, Singapore (192 destinations)
  2. Germany, South Korea (190)
  3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (189)
  4. Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Sweden (188)
  5. Ireland, Portugal (187)
  6. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (186)
  7. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185)
  8. Poland, Hungary (183)
  9. Lithuania, Slovakia (182)
  10. Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia (181).

Do you think you’ll need your passport this year? Why not tell us where you’d like to go, in the comments section below?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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