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DEMIG VISA is a new database that tracks annual bilateral travel visa requirements for 237 nationalities in 214 countries over the 1973–2013 period. The database was developed as part of the ERC-funded DEMIG project (2009-2014) at the University of Oxford. DEMIG aimed at generating new theoretical and empirical insights into the way states and policies shape migration processes in their interaction with other migration determinants.

DEMIG VISA captures both entry visa and exit permit requirements, based on data reported in the Travel Information Manuals published monthly by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). To provide consistency, the data reflects visa and permit requirements in January of each year.

DEMIG VISA contains over 4 million data points. The information tracked includes a) country of visa issuance, b) nationality of the traveller, c) year for the visa requirements, d) policy measure (visa entry and/or exit permit). The database is provided in Excel format. The data is coded as follows: 0 if visa/exit permit is not needed; 1 if visa/exit permit is needed; 2 if individuals of a particular country are not allowed to this country (“blacklisted”).

The database accounts for changes in country configurations (creation, unification and dissolution) over time by leaving respective cells blank when countries did not yet exist or ceased to exist. For countries with dependent territories, unless stated otherwise, we assumed a visa exemption applies to all the dependent territories.

Although the IATA manuals offer detailed information about the length of time travellers can stay in the country of entry, DEMIG VISA does not distinguish between visa exemptions for different lengths of stay. Concerning the types of passports tracked, this database only records visa and exit requirements for regular passport holders. Hence, exemptions for diplomatic or any other official passports, as well as requirements when travelling for business purposes have not been recorded. We have also not tracked visa exemptions for holders of residence permits in the country of visa issuance, which for instance applies to holders of residence permits in the Schengen area who are allowed to travel within the Schengen area.

Users are advised to carefully read the DEMIG VISA Accompanying Notes file for detailed information on content, coding rules and country-specific notes. A separate Excel file outlines the data coverage.

The database is available to download here: surfdrive.

Download DEMIG VISA Database Coverage (excel)

Download DEMIG VISA Accompanying Notes (pdf)


If you draw on information tracked in DEMIG VISA for your research, please cite the database in the following way:

DEMIG (2015) DEMIG VISA, version 1.4, Full Edition. Oxford: International Migration Institute, University of Oxford.


© DEMIG June 2015. All rights reserved.


The compilation of the DEMIG VISA database is part of the Determinants of Migration (DEMIG) project and has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement 240940. Additional funding for data compilation has been received from the Oxford Martin School. We thank Olinka Caunerová and Anais Resseguïer for their assistance and their commitment to entering and verifying the data.


For more information regarding the DEMIG project, please visit this page.

Our team

  • Simona Vezzoli
    Simona Vezzoli

    Research Officer, Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) Centre for Governance of Migration and Diversity (GMD), based at the Institute of History, Leiden University.

  • Maria Villares-Varela
    Maria Villares-Varela

    Lecturer in Sociology

  • Katharina Natter
    Katharina Natter

    Assistant Professor, Institute of Political Science, University of Leiden

  • Hein de Haas
    Hein de Haas

    Professor of Sociology, University of Amsterdam

Selected publications