World Borders : What has changed in the last 5 years !

20/05/2015

We have prepared a recent update of passport and border ranking; and up to date information have been added to each country's section. Today's blog is a general comparative analysis of the major remarkable changes in the course of 5 years.

More open borders, one free world ..

World Borders : What has changed in the last 5 years !

Wars and turmoil which have been suffusing the world lately would make us believe that the world has become closed upon itself with each country in it trying to protect itself from its neighbors. Surprisingly, the first notable remark is that the international travel policies are becoming less and less rigid. The world is following a rather opening up policy: the majority of countries are alleviating their visa restrictions .

Making new deals to provide people with new via-free entries has become a day-to-day process to the point that countries, keeping the same position or decreasing, have actually gained more visa-free entries, but were way surpassed by other countries which have by far exceeded them as is the case of Uruguay: it added 4 countries to its list of visa-free entries, but has decreased. Ireland, on the other hand, kept the same number of visa-free countries but was overpassed by countries which obtained accessibility to more countries.

Winners

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The Balkan countries along with Taiwan, and China are in the top of the list of countries that gained new visa-free entries in the span of the last 5 years.

Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, already having access to EU countries are joined by Albania and Bosnia in 2010.

Serbian citizens form the largest part of the Balkan visa-free applicants, and Germany is the largest host country of visa-free Balkan applicants.

China's Gaining of new new territories is of no surprise since it has been striving to expand and reach new markets and potential investments at fast pace.

Bet on tourism

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Other countries made a huge effort to open themselves on the rest of the world and to boost their tourism. Iran it has modified visa regulations to visa-free entries to North African and European countries which could be translated as a marker of Iran's willingness to reject the stereotype of the culturally isolated country. Likewise, Sri Lanka and Cape Verde, ranking first, have opened their borders to all the world.  

Arab-spring countries becoming vigilant

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Some other countries have chosen to close their borders due to, at times their delicate situation, as in post-revolutionary countries like Syria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Libyans, for example are denied access to Syria and Iran, and are required to have visas to travel to Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.  

Conversely, some Arab-spring countries like Tunisia, gradually recovring from the tension of the transitional period, is now trying to found strategic relations to rebuild its economy. To do so, it sought to reach a friendly accord with a number of gulf countries by granting them visa-free entries. The same thing was done with Iran and Lebanon. The same is probably about to be done with seven African countries.

 

New countries on board, others Off

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Other than that, the last 5 years have witnessed the emergence of and suppression of countries on the world map. South Sudan have seceded from Sudan after the yes-vote in the July 2011 referendum which run in favor of its independence. Today, 4-year old South Sudan have approximately the same visa possibilities as Sudan (Sudanese nationals can travel to 45 countries with no visa-restrictions while South Sudanese citizens are allowed to 43 visa-free entries).

Netherlands Antilles, contrarily, has dissolved in 2010: Curaçao and Sint Maarten became 2 constituent countries within the Kingdom of Netherlands; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba currently are constituent of the Netherlands as special municipalities.

Topsy-turvy

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The update has revealed an interesting contrast: countries which have been in the low rank, are in the top of the list by now and vice-versa.