The World is facing an unprecedented global crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Tourism and travel and all businesses have come to a halt, forcing billions of people into lockdown. The passport power and visa restrictions have essentially collapsed and health restrictions apply everywhere.

In 2020, we published best passport rankings study showing nordic countries had the best passports in the world. Our unique ranking model scored passports, classifying soft and hard visas in our models and most importantly the ability to carry multiple passports through dual citizenship status.

Global Pandemic

On March 12, 2020, the World Health Organization announced Covid-19 a Global pandemic. That changed everything. Soon the airlines were grounded, airports closed and health restrictions were put in place above visa restrictions. Citizens were sent to 14 day quarantine and non-citizen passengers were denied entry in most countries.

Once touted as the remarkable achievement for free movement, The Schengen area, went to closing and US imposed ban on Schengen/UK.

Nothing ever like this have happened before and nobody is prepared for it.

Map of Restricted countries

Map of Restricted countries worldwide – Source: nccr on the move visualisation

Covid-19 Travel Index

We did a quick study on the travel restrictions during the pandemic, in the worst case scenario. As coronavirus spread its tentacles, travel bans imposed by chain of countries.

We named our study as Covid-19 Travel Index. It is a very simple ranking model to understand what is going on with travel restrictions. To score the rankings, we looked into travel bans in 197 countries. we used the dataset compiled by nccr-on-the-move and flight travel restrictions compiled by IATA Timatic

What we found?

The result were totally surprising.  All of a sudden passport power tilted upside down and all passports are equal, it also revealed countries with epicenter of coronavirus suddenly tumbled in rankings.

  • Italy passport remained most powerful (2nd in previous rankings). In just 2 months when the pandemic hit, the passport power came crashing down to to the bottom.
  • Chinese passport is the worst in the world with most entry bans.
  • The Afghan passport for years remained the worst passport in the world, suddenly far better passport than United States or Italy.
  • Despite all the pandemic, European passports continue to dominate at the top of the table.
  • The passport power of Asian countries and some european countries (eg. Italy, Spain) have collapsed.


Top Rankings

Rank Country Entry* Ban
1 Cyprus
96 101
2 Finland
94 103
3 Sweden
93 104


Bottom Rankings

These are the worst countries hit by maximum restrictions because of Covid-19

Rank Country Entry* Ban
1 China 59 138
2 Iran 64 133
3 South Korea 65 132
4 Italy 74 123
5 Japan 75 122


There is no better time than now passports are now viewed and treated equally. It really does not matter what passport color is red, blue or green.

The Pandemic has taught us so many invaluable lessons. Health is the most important above all else. The surge in travel and tourism helped the virus spread even faster. The virus spread like fire through porous borders and does not discriminate people white or black, rich or power.  We humans only discriminate each other, creating borders and imposing visa restrictions.

Sources: NCCR on the move, IATA Timatic

Note:  The rankings above were based on following

  • Only flight information considered published by IATA
  • Only Covid-19 restrictions considered, no visa restrictions or any other restrictions considered
  • Entry*  indicates allowed entry into the country but subjected to quarantine, requirement of health certificate etc.