Sri Lankan Passport Improves Ranking In Visa Restriction Index

The Sri Lankan passport has improved four positions from 2015, reaching the 96th place in the Visa Restriction Index for 2016.

The list, compiled annually since 2006 by London-based consulting firm Henley and Partners and the International Air Transport Association, ranks nations by how freely their citizens, unencumbered by immigration red tape, can explore the planet.

Germany has taken the first place in the list. With a German passport, travelers can enter 177 out of 218 countries and territories without a visa, according to the 2016 Visa Restrictions Index.

The United States, which ranked first in 2014 and 2015, has now dropped to fourth place.

Immediately behind Germany, holding its position as runner-up for the second year running, is Sweden with visa-free access to 176 countries.

Finland, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom -- which had topped the list since 2013 -- are now tied for third place, making Northern and Western European citizens the most privileged in international travel.

Japan and South Korea were also among the group in the top three in 2014 and 2015, but have slid down to fifth and sixth place respectively this year.

Belgium, Denmark and Netherlands stand alongside the U.S. in fourth.

At the bottom of the list, labeled countries with the "worst passports," are Afghanistan, at 104, followed by Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria.

(With inputs from CNN)

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