Kiwis have access to among the widest range of visa-free
destinations around the world, just behind the United Kingdom
and citizens of European Union nations.
According to the annual 2013 Henley & Partners Visa
Restrictions Index, the New Zealand passport opens doors to
168 countries, five fewer than Britain, Finland and Sweden,
which topped the list.
New Zealand is ranked joint fifth with Austria and
Switzerland in the report that ranked countries according to
the number of nations their citizens can access with just a
Nine of the 10 top countries that have visa-free access to
more than 170 countries are EU members, including Italy,
Denmark and Germany, with only the United States being a
Passport holders from Arab and Muslim states such as
Afghanistan and Pakistan enjoy the least freedom of
international travel, with Afghans having visa-free access to
Although some Arab Gulf states have freedom of travel among
Arab nations, their access is comparatively restricted.
China, the world's most populous nation with 1.3 billion
people, rates at just 44 on the list, behind Vietnam, East
Timor and Cambodia.
India, with 1.2 billion, rates at 52, fewer than Burkina Faso
and Indonesia, the fourth most-populous country.
The report's compilers say there is a strong correlation
between average wealth of a nation and its citizens' freedom
"Visa requirements are also an expression of the
relationships between individual nations and generally
reflect the relations and status of a country within the
community of nations," the report said.
Immigration New Zealand area manager Michael Carley says New
Zealand has special visa waiver agreements with more than 50
countries "to encourage tourism and recognise long-standing
"People from visa waiver countries do not need a visitor visa
to enter New Zealand for a period of less than three months,
or six months if from the UK," he said.
Thai immigrant Jackie Neeramphorn, a permanent resident who
is applying for New Zealand citizenship, said she "cannot
wait" to "enjoy the freedom" that comes with holding a New
With her Thai passport, Ms Neeramphorn is able to get
visa-free access to 64 nations, or 104 fewer countries than a
House of Travel retail manager Brent Thomas said he did not
believe Kiwi travellers chose their travel destinations based
on whether they required a visa, but believed visa-free
agreements benefit the in-bound tourist market.
"If we have a lower barrier of entry for people to come and
visit us, absolutely it would be hugely advantageous from an
in-bound tourism point of view," Mr Thomas said.
Last year, 1.25 million of the total 2.65 million visitors
came from countries with visa-free arrangements, with the UK
(1.06 million), USA (882,000) and Japan (375,583) topping the
list, excluding Australia.
Visa-free travel access
173 - Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom
172 - Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, USA
171 - Belgium, Italy, Netherlands
170 - Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain
168 - New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland
32 - Pakistan, Somalia
31 - Iraq
28 - Afghanistan
(source: 2013 Henley & Partners Visa Restriction Index)