Nepali Passport is Weakest in The World

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According to a Kathmandu Post article, Nepali passport was the weakest in the world based on numerous passport strength tracking organizations including Henley Passport Index (HPI). Based on the HPI index, Nepal was ranked 101st out of 107 nations, a position it had held since 2018, and was positioned below countries such as North Korea, South Sudan, and Kosovo.

As of February 2024, Nepal’s passport ranked 103rd, a a position it has held since 2023, with the lowest ranking being 110th in 2021. “The Henley Passport Index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association and research by the Henley and Partners Research Department.”

Though the ranking should not come as a surprise to many Nepalis who have attempted international travel, this poor standing is a cause for concern, especially since Nepal is no longer in the midst of a conflict, has not been involved in any large-scale criminal or terrorist incident, is a democracy, and is politically stable. 

But officials and experts that the Post spoke to say that there are multiple factors behind the weakness of Nepal’s passport, including a propensity to violate visa regulations. But more concerning is the fact that successive governments have not taken any proactive measures to address this, they say. 

– The Kathmandu Post

Nishchal Nath Pandey, executive director of the Center for South Asian Studies, told the Kathmandu Post “Ordinary passports show the credibility of the nation. Once, Nepalis would get visa-on-arrival in many countries but now, even countries like the UAE, Thailand, and Malaysia insist on prior visas. This is a humiliation because thousands of Nepali tourists go to these nations every year.”

Our passport ranking is based on visa access, and our access is low because of our economy and our expenditure capability. The ranking also depends on our mobility, travel, trade and business, and level of engagements with the citizens of each country. If our people have a high mobility rate, return on time and spend well, our ranking will automatically go up.

– Ram Kaji Khadka, director-general of the Department of Passports.

Pandey, further added to the Post that he believes that the government needs to make it a priority to ensure that the Nepali passport is not among the weakest in the world. “This must be a priority for the Foreign Ministry. Bhutanese and Indians are getting visa-on-arrival in far more countries than us. Countries like Australia, the UK and France do not even grant us visas from their embassies in Nepal; we need to apply in New Delhi, which has created a lot of hassle.” 

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