Kenya Floors Tanzania, Uganda In Latest Passport Ranking

The report was released by Henley & Partners, a citizenship and planning firm...

Kenya Floors Tanzania, Uganda In Latest Passport Ranking
A person holding a Kenyan passport. /FILE

Kenya's passport in 2023 was ranked the 73rd most powerful in the world, which allows holders to travel to 40 countries without a visa, according to the latest global rankings released on Tuesday, January 10.

The report was released by Henley & Partners, a citizenship and planning firm, through its passport index which compares the visa-free access of 199 different passports to 227 travel destinations.

If no visa is required, then a score with value = 1 is created for that passport. The same applies if one can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering the destination.


Where a visa is required, or where a passport holder has to obtain a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) before departure, a score with value = 0 is assigned. This also applies if one needs pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival.

The total score for each passport is equal to the number of destinations for which no visa is required (value = 1).

Despite Kenyans being able to visit 40 countries without a visa, they still need a visa to access 123 other countries and require a visa on arrival in 35 countries.

Kenya's passport however does better than its East African counterparts, given that it was just 76th in 2022. For instance, Tanzania ranks just below Kenya at 74th, Rwanda at 83rd, and Uganda at 78th.

Some of the countries Kenyans can visit visa-free include Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Ethiopia, Senegal and now South Africa, among others. 

It is worth it to note that South Africa was included on January 1, 2023, after President William Ruto on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, signed a deal with South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa removing the visa requirements for citizens between the two countries. Under the deal, Kenyans are now travelling to South Africa visa-free for up to 90 days a year, which started on January 2023.

"From January 1, 2023, we will have a different regime thanks to your personal intervention in this matter and the wealth of experience that has been brought on board by your officials.

"Kenyans holding ordinary passports will be allowed to enter South Africa on a visa-free regime of up to 90 days per calendar year," he announced.

Some of the countries that will still require a visa to travel include the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Japan among others.

Japan emerged as the country with the most powerful passport in the world, with its passport holders able to visit 193 countries without a visa. Afghanistan was ranked the least powerful.

"For the fifth year running, Japan crowns the index, which is based on exclusive and official data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Japanese citizens are now able to visit an astonishing 193 destinations out of 227 around the world visa-free.

"Afghanistan remains firmly at the bottom of the index, with a score of just 27 — 166 fewer visa-free destinations than Japan, which represents the widest global mobility gap in the index’s 18-year history," stated Henley & Partners in part.

The firm added that against a backdrop of ongoing global uncertainty and precariousness, more and more high-net-worth investors and entrepreneurs are looking to create portfolios of complementary citizenship and residence options through investment migration programs to access security and optionality in terms of where they and their families can comfortably live, conduct business, study, and invest.

Image of an aircraft taking off. /FILE