There are many reasons why some passports are strong and some are weak. Economic and political stability, bilateral agreements, reciprocity, and many other factors affect the strength of a passport.
Passports from war-torn countries tend to suffer a lot these days. Countries with population issues also seem to have weaker passports.
What makes a passport strong or weak?
A passport that offers VISA-FREE access to most countries in the world is the strongest. According to Henley & Partners Passport Index (Feb 2020), Japan’s passport is the strongest in the world with VISA-FREE access to 191 countries.
As the VISA-FREE number drops, the passport becomes weaker and weaker. As per the Henley & Partners Passport Index (Feb 2020), Afghanistan’s passport is the weakest in the world with VISA-FREE access to only 28 countries.
What are some of the strong and weak passports in the world?
Most developed nations tend to have strong passports. These countries boast strong economies and stable political environments.
According to Henley & Partners Passport Index (Feb 2020), some of the strong passports in the world are Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Germany and Italy.
Developing nations usually tend to have weak passports. These countries are struggling or recovering from political and economic instabilities.
According to Henley & Partners Passport Index (Feb 2020), some of the weak passports in the world are Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Somalia.
How to turn your weak passport into a strong passport?
Having a weak passport is a struggle but it’s not the end of the world. With a bit of effort and planning, you can turn your weak passport into a strong passport. Maybe not the strongest, but a lot stronger than your current passport.
Here are the 3 steps to turn your weak passport into a strong passport.
01. Get US visa (or Canada Visa)
You can, of course, travel to the US with a US visa. But you can also travel to 49 other countries and territories with a US visa.
With a US visa, you add 49 more countries (including the US) and territories to your VISA-FREE list.
Let’s look at how your current passport with a US visa stacks up against some of the strong passports in the world.
Example: Your Current Passport with US Visa
|Your Current Passport||Your Current VISA-FREE Countries||VISA-FREE Countries For US Visa||Your New VISA-FREE Countries *||Your Current Passport Is As Strong As|
|Pakistan||32||19||33 + 19 + 1 = 53||Bhutan|
|Sri Lanka||42||20||42 + 20 + 1 = 63||Kyrgyzstan|
|Nigeria||46||19||46 + 19 + 1 = 66||Cape Verde|
|Egypt||49||21||49 + 21 + 1 = 71||Gambia,Tanzania or Zambia|
|Vietnam||54||21||54 + 21 + 1 = 76||Kazakhstan|
|India||58||37||58 + 37 + 1 = 96||Kuwait|
|Philippines||67||23||67 + 23 + 1 = 91||Ecuador|
* (Your Current VISA-FREE Countries For Your Passport) + (VISA-FREE Countries With US Visa For Your Passport) + (US) = Your New VISA-FREE Countries.
FURTHER READING: Travel 49 countries VISA-FREE with a US visa
If the US visa is difficult for you, get a Canada visa. Canada visa is equally powerful. You can travel to 36 countries (including Canada) and territories with a Canada visa.
Both US and Canada visas are long-term visas. They are usually issued for 10 years. You get your US or Canada visa once and your passport remains strong for the next 10 years.
Let’s look at how your passport with Canada visa stacks up against these strong passports.
Example: Your Current Passport with Canada Visa
|Your Current Passport||Your Current VISA-FREE Countries||VISA-FREE Countries For Canada Visa||Your New VISA-FREE Countries *||Your Current Passport Is As Strong As|
|Pakistan||32||10||32 + 10 + 1 = 43||Ethiopia|
|Sri Lanka||42||11||42 + 11 + 1 = 54||Cambodia|
|Nigeria||46||11||46 + 11 + 1 = 58||India|
|Egypt||49||13||49 + 13 + 1 = 63||Kyrgyzstan|
|Vietnam||54||12||54 + 12 + 1 = 67||Azerbaijan|
|India||58||25||58 + 25 + 1 = 84||Botswana|
Papua New Guinea
|Philippines||67||14||67 + 14 + 1 = 82||Bahrain|
* (Your Current VISA-FREE Countries For Your Passport) + (VISA-FREE Countries With Canada Visa For Your Passport) + (Canada) = Your New VISA-FREE Countries.
FURTHER READING: Travel 36 countries VISA-FREE with a Canada visa
I have traveled to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea using my US visa. If I hadn’t had my US visa, I would have required visas to all of those countries.
02. Get Schengen Visa
You can travel to 26 Schengen countries with a Schengen visa. But also to 39 non-Schengen countries. A total of 65 countries.
These 39 non-Schengen countries honor Schengen visa as their own visa. You don’t need a separate visa for these countries.
Unlike US/Canada visas, Schengen visas are short-term visas valid for 90-180 days. Visa validity increases on subsequent applications.
Let’s see at how your passport with a Schengen visa stacks up against strong passports in the world.
Example: Your current passport with Schengen visa
|Your Current Passport||Your Current VISA-FREE Countries||VISA-FREE Countries For Schengen Visa||Your New VISA-FREE Countries *||Your Current Passport Is As Strong As|
|Pakistan||32||26||32 + 26 + 26 = 84||Botswana|
Papua New Guinea
|Sri Lanka||42||28||42 + 28 + 26 = 96||Kuwait|
|Nigeria||46||27||46 + 27 + 26 = 99||Belize|
|Egypt||49||29||49 + 29 + 26 = 104||Belize|
|Vietnam||54||28||54 + 28 + 26 = 108||Turkey|
|India||58||42||58 + 42 + 26 = 126||Colombia|
|Philippines||67||31||67 + 31 + 26 = 124||Montenegro|
* (Your Current VISA-FREE Countries For Your Passport) + (VISA-FREE Countries With Schengen Visa For Your Passport) + (26 Schengen Countries) = Your New VISA-FREE Countries.
FURTHER READING: Travel 39 non-Schengen countries VISA-FREE with a Schengen visa
A combination of a US and Schengen visa bumps that list by a whopping 80 (* depends on the passport).
Let’s look at how your passport with US/Canada visa and Schengen visa stacks up against the strong passports in the world.
Example: Your Passport with US and Schengen Visa
|Your Current Passport||Your Current VISA-FREE Countries||VISA-FREE Countries For US and Schengen Visa||Your New VISA-FREE Countries *||Your Current Passport Is As Strong As|
|Pakistan||32||29||32 + 29 + 1 + 26 = 88||Fiji|
|Sri Lanka||42||31||42 + 31 + 1 + 26 = 100||Belize|
|Nigeria||46||29||46 + 29 + 1 + 26 = 102||Belize|
|Egypt||49||31||49 + 31 + 1 + 26 = 107||Turkey|
|Vietnam||54||31||54 + 31 + 1 + 26 = 112||Turkey|
|India||58||48||58 + 48 + 1 + 26 = 133||El Salvador|
|Philippines||67||34||67 + 34 + 1 + 26 = 128||Nicaragua|
* (Your Current VISA-FREE Countries For Your Passport) + (VISA-FREE Countries With US and Schengen Visa For Your Passport) + (US) + (26 Schengen Countries) = Your New VISA-FREE Countries.
Example: Your Passport with Canada and Schengen Visa
|Your Current Passport||Your Current VISA-FREE Countries||VISA-FREE Countries For Canada and Schengen Visa||Your New VISA-FREE Countries *||Your Current Passport Is As Strong As|
|Pakistan||32||28||32 + 28 + 1 + 26 = 87||Fiji|
|Sri Lanka||42||30||42 + 30 + 1 + 26 = 99||Belize|
|Nigeria||46||29||46 + 29 + 1 + 26 = 102||Belize|
|Egypt||49||31||49 + 31 + 1 + 26 = 107||Turkey|
|Vietnam||54||30||54 + 30 + 1 + 26 = 111||Turkey|
|India||58||44||58 + 44 + 1 + 26 = 129||Vanuatu|
|Philippines||67||32||67 + 32 + 1 + 26 = 126||Colombia|
* (Your Current VISA-FREE Countries For Your Passport) + (VISA-FREE Countries With Canada and Schengen Visa For Your Passport) + (Canada) + (26 Schengen Countries) = Your New VISA-FREE Countries.
03. Build Travel History
Travel history may not make your passport strong, but it will improve your chances of visa approvals. The more travel history you have, the higher are the chances of visa approvals.
Travel history indicates that you don’t have illegal immigration intent. If you were to remain illegally, you could have done it so in any of the countries you have been to so far. Travel history makes you trustworthy in the eyes of the consulates.
Visa applications such as the US, Canada, UK, Malaysia, Bahrain, etc. specifically ask for a copy of your travel history.
Therefore, fill your passport with visas and stamps to make it even stronger.
If you hold a weak passport, then these 3 steps will help you turn your weak passport into a strong passport. This will not turn your passport into the strongest, but these steps will definitely make your passport much better and stronger.
Do you have any questions? Do you need more examples? Let me know in the comments below.
Zahir Othman says
Hello Sir, thank you for such a great website and facebook support group. I use this website for my travel plans.
My question: If I hold a US and Canada visit visa with a Palestine passport, could you please make an example such as the matrix you made above especially if I want to travel to Taiwan and the Philippines? Many thanks for such great information.
Thirumal Motati says
Hi Zahir! Thanks! Appreciate the kind words. Sure, I will do a matrix like the above for the Palestine passport. I will let you know.
Hello, I am trying to get a UK and Schengen visitor’s visa for my father. His US visa has been refused thrice. Will the US refusals have an impact on the UK visa? If yes, what can I do to make his application strong? Thanks for your suggestions in advance!
Thirumal Motati says
Hi Jas! Not necessarily. He must, of course, declare his US visa refusals in his UK visa application. But this information will not be used against him. But there must be a strong reason why his US visas were refused. If that reason, whatever it might be, is not fixed, then it can affect his UK or Schengen visa result too.
Navjot singh says
Hello sir, I had a Schengen visa in 2004 in 2007. I went to Canada to study and came back in 2009. After that, I have applied many times, approx 5 times, for a US visa at different years. But all time I have got refusals. Everyone in my family has US visas. Also 2019, I have applied for a Greece visa and got a refusal.
Thirumal Motati says
Hi Navjot! There must be something wrong with your application. USCIS has access to various databases and they can cross-check information. If you have forgotten to disclose an important piece of information, they can consider it as “hiding information” and can refuse your visa. But without understanding your current and past circumstances, I cannot really pin point the issue.
I feel lucky to find this website. Thank you sir for your valuable information. Hope more countries in your travel list.
Thirumal Motati says
Hi Srikanth! Appreciate the kind words! I’m glad you found the information valuable.
What are the chances of getting a US, UK and Canada visa:- after one US refusal (2018) and two UK refusal(2019&2020), Canada refusal (2018), and Australia refusal (2018)?
But I got 2 Schengen visa(2019&2020) after all these refusals traveled 10+ countries other than Schengen Zone. Indian passport, Single Male, family business. I like to keep all visas in my passport to be travel-ready anytime. How a genuine traveler like me can prove my intentions.! Visa process is killing. I got a decent travel history but rejections happen.!
Hi Raju! It’s really difficult to comment on the chances of securing US/UK/CAN visas without knowing why they have been denied before. You have a decent travel history, so I’m assuming it could be your business/family/social ties that could be affecting your visas. Sometimes these refusals seem like a curse. It’s just something we all have to deal with just because we hold weak passports. Anyway, if you don’t mind, send me an email with your visa refusal letters. Maybe I can figure what’s causing those refusals.
Sanggam Shrestha says
I am a permanent resident of Japan but I have a passport from Nepal. Will it make my passport stronger than the rest of the Nepalese passport?
Hi Sanggam! Yes. Your Japanese PR makes your Nepalese passport stronger by adding 3 extra countries to your VISA-FREE list. You can travel to Mexico, Panama and Georgia using your Japanese PR. But having a US, Canada or Schengen visa will make your Nepalese passport much stronger.
GANESH INVENTIVE says
Wow! Amazing bro! Till now I don’t have knowledge about this. But, you explained it very clearly. Now I get a clear idea to make strong passport from weak passport. My lifetime dream is world tour. I’m sure one day I will start it and one day I will achieve it. Thanks bro! You have given essential information to me.
Hi Ganesh! Thanks! I’m glad the article gave you ideas on making your weak passport strong. I truly believe that you will make your dream come true one day. Keep me updated and do not hesitate to contact me if you need any help. Good luck!
Wow! I want to appreciate your efforts in researching this educative information and putting it out free of charge for prospective travelers. I have used the US, UK and Schengen visas but didn’t even realize that I could have traveled to other countries with it. Thanks a lot for the good work you are doing.
Hi Caminus! Thanks for the kind words! Now you know. When you get any of those visas again, make sure to visit the other countries.
I appreciate the information on the total number of new countries that can be added to the original list. But, where can we find a list of these additional countries?
Hi Vincent! I have detailed articles on visa-free countries for US, UK, Canada and Schengen visas. Below are those articles.
– Visa-free countries for US visa
– Visa-free countries for UK visa
– Visa-free countries for Canada visa
– Visa-free countries for Schengen visa
Thank you so much o…mehn I’m super pumped.
I’m currently on a Tier 4 UK visa and I’ve a US visa as well.
Never knew I could travel to other countries with the US visa.
Hi Mimi! Well, you know now. We may have to wait a bit due to COVID, but after things come back to normal, go ahead and explore all those countries with your US visa. Good luck!
Vincent Abel says
Which countries can you travel to with a multiple entry Japan visa on an Indian passport?
Hi Vincent! You can travel to the following 8 countries with your India passport and Japan multiple-entry visa.
– Mexico (applies to all nationalities)
– Panama (applies to all nationalities)
– Georgia (applies to all nationalities)
– Oman (applies to all nationalities)
– Malaysia (applies to Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam passport holders only)
– Philippines (applies to India and China passport holders only)
– Singapore (applies to India and China passport holders only)
– Taiwan (applies to Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam passport holders only)
I will be writing a detailed article on VISA-FREE countries for Japan visa soon. Stay tuned.
Vincent Abel says
Thanks for the information.
JOSEPH BLESSING VICTORIA says
Your pages are very helpful. I have gone through a lot of them(if not all). But I have a question, does Chile frown at birth tourism like the U.S do?
Hi Joseph! My knowledge and experience are only in tourist visas with tourism intent. Sorry, I have no knowledge or expertize in birth tourism.
I find all your articles very useful and informative, I wish I came across your blog before commencing with a UK tourist Visa for my brother he is a Nigerian and his Visa was refused and now I am in the process of trying to apply for a student Visa for him to study in the UK but I am not certain if his previous refusal will cause a negative impact.
How long does he need to wait before reapplying again?
Please, can you advise how I can best go about his student Visa?
Hi Bee! Previous visa refusals do affect the current visa application. But if you can understand the refusal reasons and provide an explanation in the reapplication, there are fair chances of approval.
My knowledge and experience are only in tourist visas. I don’t know much about student visas.
Thank you so much for this post, it is very interesting, full with great insights, there are however some few points that I don’t completely agree on :
Although securing a 10 year Canada/USA Visa seems like a smart idea, on the other hand having a Schengen tourist Visa while it will give you a big number of countries to visit it will be only for a short time, (190 days maximum) which mean you will need a least 3 to 4 Visa per years, considering the time it takes, and the free it doesn’t seem like the best idea to me, I suggest instead looking for a working or studying Visa, which will be for a year minimum, and if you’re freelancer you can look for self-employed Visa (Spain, Portugal & Netherland had I believe) or even Freelancer Visa (Germany) this will be for at least 3 years
The traveling idea may seem like a good way to give credit & emphasize your trip, it proves you like to travel and Europe is only a part of your trip, however when it comes to consider you a potential illegal immigrant (the embassy biggest fear of all times) it’ will largely depend on the country you go to, is this country , one that people overstay ? for example in my case (Morroco), Malaysia, South Koria, Turkey, UAE are Visa-free, countries that people tend to overstay but also Algeria, Dominican Republic & Sudan. So we need to use some common sense because Embassies use a lot of it.
Hi Yassine! Thank you very much! And, I respect your opinion.
You don’t have to keep your passport strong all year around. There is no need to have a valid Schengen visa in your passport all the time. The idea here is to travel to non-Schengen countries when you have a Schengen visa. Your passport will be strong for a short period of time and you make use of it.
I highly appreciate your ideas and insights into self-employed and freelancer visas in Europe. Thank you very much. But, getting a work, study or freelance visa requires to have the necessary education, background, qualification or financial stability. Therefore, work, study or freelancer visas are not the best solutions for everyday travelers that read my blog.
I didn’t understand what you are trying to convey in the last paragraph. Illegal immigration is a problem and consulates do their job in identifying such cases and refusing visas. If you are a true traveler, you will not have any issues in securing visas. This will only make your passport stronger and will help fulfill your travel dream.
Hi, I hold an Indian passport. I have recently been granted a Schengen visa. Which country can I travel without a visa with an expired Schengen visa?
Hi Ali! You CANNOT visit any country with an EXPIRED Schengen visa. If your Schengen visa is still VALID, you can visit up to 39 countries. Refer to my VISA-FREE travel with Schengen Visa article for the complete list.
Can you publish a list of countries Indian Passport Holder can visit with US Visa and separate List with Canada Visa and Shengen Visa
Also are there any countries I can visit with UK Visa on my Indian Passport
Hi Vinod! I don’t have specific articles just for India passport, but I do have articles for US, Canada and Schengen visas. Check the below articles.
– VISA-FREE countries with US visa
– VISA-FREE countries with Canada visa
– VISA-FREE countries with Schengen visa
TRUELY AMAZING! You are really amazing.
I believe no one will provide such inside information about these topics in such a detailed and nice way. God Bless you.
I got inspired and got my US B1/B2 visa now. Can you please share a list of VISA FREE countries with US Visa for Indian?
Hi Brijesh! Thank you very much! And, congratulations on getting your US B1/B2 visa. Refer to my article VISA-FREE travel with US visa for the countries list.
How do I find out what countries I get exempted. My passport is Tanzanian and I have all the 3 visas, US, Canadian and Schengen.
Hi Phenominal! Download my FREE eBook – The Secret to VISA-FREE Travel. It covers the list of all visa-free countries for the US, Canada and Schengen visa holders.
Alternatively, you can check the “blog” section. There are posts specific for US, Canada and Schengen visa holders.
Hello sir! I have a Singapore eVisa and already traveled for 1 week. Is it valid same like a sticker visa?
Hi Rumpa! Yes, Singapore eVisa is like a sticker visa. If it’s multiple-entry and still valid, you can use it to enter Singapore.
Thanks! I have been in Vietnam, Maldives, Malaysia and Brunei and will be going to Korea. I stayed not more than 2 weeks in this countries I listed. Would this be a strong proof?
That’s good! Try to get more visa stickers (similar to South Korea) in your passport. The more travel history you have, the better it is for your UK visa.
Your site is such a great find! I’m totally impressed with your up-to-date posts and replies!
I’m reading through your articles right now and has come across on this one.
I have a Philippine passport and has just gotten an S.Korean Visa this- my question is, will this be a big help with my UK tourist visa application? Also, I have been denied with Schengen visa last year due to lack of financial proof of evidence. How difficult do you reckon it will be for me to get approved?
Hoping to hear back from you :)
Thanks in advance!
Hi Mel! Travel history definitely helps. It shows that you have never overstayed your visas and always returned home promptly. It builds trust. I suggest building more travel history before applying for your UK visa. UK visa applications are scrutinized much more than Schengen visa applications. Therefore, having considerable travel history helps.
Very insightful article. So which countries can one visit using a Canadian visa on an Egyptian passport?
Hi Karim! I’m only showing the numbers in this article. But for the actual countries list, refer to my article on VISA-FREE travel with Canada visa.
WOW! You are really amazing. You have given some effective tips for me to travel. This method will help me to travel many countries.
Hi Imran! For sure! Hope this helps you travel more! Try to secure US, Canada and Schengen visas. It will make your travel so easy.
Would you like me to add Bangladesh to the examples? Let me know.
Sushill Shyam Sundar says
Great post– Very cool, The time you take and the clarity you give rocks bro. Thanks once again.
Hi Sushill! Thanks brother! I hope to see the day where travelers with weak passports travel the world like those with strong passports.
Great, very useful information you provide brother. Thank you very much.
Hi Asif! Thanks! I’m glad you found the information useful.
Very Helpful Information
For Foreign Travellrs
I have A Question about Immigration to
Countries with less expense becoming
Citizen of a good country like the EB5
Program for USA but less than 300k $
Hi Yogesh! Thanks for your kind words!
There are quite a few countries offering citizenship through investment that cost much lesser than a US EB5. Panama, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Macedonia, Georgia, etc are some of them. A fantastic resource on obtaining a second passport/citizenship is Nomad Capitalist. I refer to this site myself quite a bit. Check it out.
Pranit Patil says
Amazing. Thanks for such valuable information.
You’re welcome, Pranit! I’m glad you found the information valuable.
Raja Mariappan says
Excellent! Thanks for the details.
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