BEIRUT: It’s no secret that applying for visas as a Lebanese citizen is a hassle, but according to a new report from a major consulting firm, the cedar-stamped passport may be among the least desirable in the world when it comes to travel. Lebanon was tied for 88th place with Kosovo, Sri Lanka and Sudan in Henley and Partners’ global ranking index for 2013, which ranks countries based on their citizens’ freedom of travel. All four countries received a score of 38, meaning that there are only 38 countries a Lebanese citizen can enter without a visa. Afghanistan came last, in 94th place, with a score of 28.
Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom all tied for first place with a score of 173.
Henley and Partners, which describes itself as “the world’s leading consulting firm for exclusive private residence and citizenship solutions,” ranked Lebanon just ahead of countries such as Palestine, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and just behind Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Syria.
Lebanon’s ranking is actually an improvement from previous years. In 2010, it was ranked 94th with a score of just 32, placing it squarely between Eritrea and Somalia.
In addition to formal visa restrictions, many Lebanese have complained in recent years of discrimination at foreign embassies as security has deteriorated. Some citizens who have been living and working in the Gulf for years, for example, have reported an unofficial moratorium on visas for Lebanese, particularly following Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria.