Russian passport holders are more cut off from the rest of the world than ever before, as sanctions, travel bans, and airspace closures limit Russian citizens from accessing all but a few destinations in Asia and the Middle East. The Russian passport currently sits at 50th place on the index, with a visa-free or visa-free on arrival score of 119. However, due to airspace closures in EU member nations, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the US, and the UK, Russian citizens are effectively barred from traveling throughout most of the developed world, with the marked exceptions of Istanbul and Dubai, which have become focal points.
The Ukrainian passport is currently ranked in 35th place on the index, with holders able to access 144 destinations around the world without needing a visa in advance. In contrast to the stringent restrictions placed on Russian passport holders, Ukrainians displaced by the invasion have been granted the right to live and work in the EU for up to three years under an emergency plan in response to what has become Europe’s biggest refugee crisis this century. After the EU’s recent, ground-breaking announcement awarding Ukraine candidate status, the first step towards EU membership, the travel freedom for Ukrainian passport holders is likely to increase further in the coming years.
Commenting in the Henley Global Mobility Report 2022 Q3, Prof. Dr. Khalid Koser OBE, Member of the Governing Board of the Andan Foundation, says at least five million Ukrainians have left their country, and a further seven million or so are displaced internally. “In a global — not just European — context, these are very significant numbers, making Ukrainians one of the largest refugee populations in the world, along with Syrians, Venezuelans, and Afghans.”