Countries we should extend visa free travel to

Travel is of course a fundamental part of the human experience. It helps people come together, it brings down barriers, and I believe it reduces conflict. It increases trade between countries, which is shown to reduce the probability of conflict. It also is an economic stimulus. There are so many good reasons why travel is good for the world.

That being said, there are some countries that should have visa-free access extended by the US and Canadian governments. I personally want the US and Canada to someday either join Schengen or create our own open border zone like Schengen, as I have written about before.

Here is a list of a few countries which fulfill the following criteria:

  • Democratic (using the Democracy Index and Freedom In the World)
  • Low corruption (using the corruption perceptions index)
  • A free press (measures both corruption and freedom)

That’s really all I am worried about because when these two criteria are hit, the economies will either be developed or be rapidly developing. This means that it is technically possible for us to extend travel to said countries.

These are the countries in the world that do not have visa-free access to the US or Canada and score better than Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania (consistently the lowest performers in the EU on these metrics):

  1. Bahamas
  2. Barbados
  3. Botswana
  4. Bulgaria
  5. Cape Verde
  6. Costa Rica
  7. Dominica
  8. Ghana
  9. Grenada
  10. Israel
  11. Jamaica
  12. Mauritius
  13. Namibia
  14. Romania
  15. Saint Lucia
  16. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  17. Sao Tome and Principe
  18. Seychelles
  19. South Africa
  20. Uruguay
  21. Vanuatu

On top of this, all of these countries except Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Jamaica, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, and South Africa already have visa-free travel to the Schengen Area. From a very quick glance, it appears that there is severe racism against Africans in international visa policy (shocker, I know). I’m using their judgment as a proxy for the safety of said countries, which to me proves that there is no risk to extending visa-free travel to these countries.

On top of these 22 metrics, there are a few other countries that score very well on the metrics they do pass on that they should be seriously considered for visa-free travel by multiplying scores together.

  1. Suriname
  2. Trinidad and Tobago
  3. Bhutan
  4. Argentina
  5. Senegal
  6. Panama
  7. Guyana
  8. East Timor
  9. Mongolia

One final way to determine which countries should have visa-free access is to normalize their scores on a scale of 1-100 and then take the average. Brazil very slightly outperforms Hungary on this metric, so they should also be given visa-free travel.

Also, if the criteria for countries to have visa-free travel are human rights and quality of government, why does Brunei have visa-free access to the United States? It performs poorly on all metrics. Could it be because they have lots of oil money?

The United States Department and the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs should quickly give these 30 countries visa-free access.

If we were to expand our visa-free map to include all of these countries, a visa policy map of North America should look like the following:

Our world is changing and America’s visa policy needs to change with it. It’s time to rapidly expand the number of countries which can travel to America without a visa and work with Canada so we can have a synchronized visa policy, moving towards a free travel area.

View my work here: visa-free-candidates.ods

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *