Passport is an official document issued by the government which certifies the identity and citizenship of the holder, as well as giving them the entitlement to travel to other countries; while a visa is an endorsement giving permission to an individual to visit or stay in a foreign country for a specified period of time. The passport of any country is a kind of a parameter as to the prowess of the country that issues it. There are many countries, the citizens of which can travel to other countries without a visa or by the principle of visa on arrival. The Passport Index firm establishes the ranking of the passports of all the countries in the world on the basis of their power, the power determined by the number of countries allowed to visit without a visa. As per the most recent list, while the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) are on the top with 147 visa free countries, India ranked 59 with 59 countries.
The reasons for such low ranking
• India with a history of paranoia for foreign goods and people erected social barriers which is taking time to be removed.
• Visa restrictions are highly related to per-capita GDP and social services available in the home country. Fear of illegal immigrants from India has made most of the countries continue with visa restrictions.
• The population of India is also a major factor. Even if 0.01% of Indians emigrate to a particular nation, they would form a minority group there.
• Neighbourhood matters. Even though India is a peaceful nation, the terrorist activities and violence in the neighbouring countries, has resulted in India facing visa restrictions along with these countries.
Countries you can travel to without a Visa, or on Visa on arrival (VOA)
If you have been planning a dream vacation to an exotic place, but do not have the time or energy to go through the official rigmaroles of obtaining a visa, here are the places that you can visit with just the power of your passport:
The easiest and the most convenient destinations for Indians lie in their own continent. Asia has indeed a lot to offer in architectural heritage and history. It is also a paradise for the shopaholics. The places you can visit without a visa or on the basis VOA include Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jordan, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Macau, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, South Korea (Jeju), Iraq and Timor Leste.
Africa is nature at its best. And the good news is that there are many countries in the African sub-continent that we can visit on the power of our passports. The countries include Ethiopia, Mauritius, Madagascar, Kenya, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Cape Verde, Comoros, Togo, Mozambique, Sao Tome & Principe, and Seychelles.
In most of these countries the Indians have to hold a return ticket or a ticket for an onward journey, on the basis of which visa is issued on arrival. They also need to hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay and documents required for their next destination.
There are a few countries in the South American sub-continent which beckon you with their colonial towns and white sandy beaches. Plan a trip to explore the rich natural heritage of flora and fauna, and some fun in the sun and sand. Bolivia, Guyana, Ecuador, and Dominica are the countries which have the option of VOA.
America, the land of opportunities and dreams, where every intrepid traveller wants to set foot on. Well the good news is that even in North America there are a few places you can visit on the basis of VOA. Turks & Caicos Islands, Nicaragua, Montserrat, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Grandines, St Vincent, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, St Lucia, Haiti, British Virgin Islands are the countries that you can travel to without the cumbersome visit to the visa office.
Europe is the land of scenic beauty, epic history and dazzling artistic and culinary diversity. At present Macedonia and Georgia have the option of VOA.
Oceania is the region centred on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Vanuatu, Palau, Nieu, Tuvalu, Samoa, Nauru, Micronesia, Fiji, El Salvador, Cook Islands offer you to travel on the power of your passport.
Apart from the aforesaid countries Indians can also visit Antarctica, the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole.
Requirements to avail VOA
It must be kept in mind that visa restrictions for different countries keep changing. Apart from that you also need to know that for VOA:
• Visitors need to furnish return flight tickets
• Proof of hotel reservations
• Evidence of sufficient funds to cover their stay
• Passport sized photographs
• A passport with adequate empty pages
• Money for fee if required by the country.
59 is not a bad number. Pack your bags, and visit these 59 exotic countries, and by the time you finish, India would most probably have risen in the list. Happy travelling.