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Weekly Chart: Powerful Passports and Visa-free Travel in the Americas

June 29, 2017

Just 43 countries have visa-free access to the United States, the hardest to get into in the Americas after Cuba.
What country has the widest open doors in the Americas? Haiti, which welcomes people from 194 countries, visa-free.

Ready to plan a vacation? Make sure to check visa requirements before you pack your bags. While the 10 most powerful passports in the Americas allow holders access to at least 120 countries with either no visa or visa on arrival, those same 10 nations might well ask you to apply for a visa before you get there. In fact, only Chile and Costa Rica make the top-10 lists for the Americas for both strong passports and welcoming countries, per Arton Capital’s Passport Index

And it turns out that saving potential visitors time in visa lines can lead to big tourism dollars. Take the case of Canada, which in December 2016 dropped its visa requirement for Mexican citizens. Mexican tourism to Canada will likely spike by more than 28 percent this year as a result, according to the Canadian Tourism Research Institute. Mexicans might end up choosing Canada over their northern neighbor; Los Angeles Times reports that, amid the Trump administration’s anti-Mexico rhetoric, Mexican visits to the United States are expected to drop 7 percent in 2017, amounting to $1.1 billion in lost tourism revenue. 

Still, the U.S. passport remains the strongest in the Western Hemisphere, allowing its holders visa-free access to 157 countries. Canada comes just behind it at 155. Which passport holders are most likely to need to file visa applications before traveling? Cubans, Dominicans, and Haitians.

AS/COA Online takes a look at the countries in the Americas that have the most powerful passports and which ones are most likely to throw open their doors to various nationalities.

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