German travellers hold the world’s strongest passport and can visit the most countries without needing to apply for a visa, according to a newly-updated travel index.

A total of 157 countries offer Germans either visa-free access or a visa on arrival, making citizens of the central European nation the most privileged passport holders on the planet. 

The power of the German passport is followed closely by travel documents issued in Sweden and Singapore, which enjoy joint second place in the ‘passport power rank’ compiled by Arton Capital's Passport Index.

The UK shares third place with fellow EU members Denmark, Finland, France, Spain as well as Switzerland, Norway and the United States.

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(The Passport Index)

Among the countries where British passport holders face additional restrictions over their German counterparts are Iran, Mongolia and Turkey, where Britons must obtain a visa on arrival while Germans are exempt. 

The index was updated last week to replace South Korea with Singapore as Asia’s strongest passport. 

At the bottom of the ranking is Afghanistan; passport holders from the war-ravaged Central  Asian nation are offered visa-free access to just three countries – Haiti, Micronesia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A further 20 countries offer Afghan visitors a visa on arrival – giving the country a visa-free score of just 23. 

Holders of Pakistani, Iraqi and Syrian passports face a similarly limited number of countries willing to let their citizens in without prior approval. 

The index, which compares the passports of 193 UN member countries plus six territories - Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican – also ranks the world’s most ‘welcoming’ countries.

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Thirteen countries top the list as they do not require citizens from any country to register for a visa in advance of travel. 

They include: Cambodia, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Mauritania, Micronesia, Mozambique, Samoa, Seychelles, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu and Uganda. 

The least welcoming countries – each requiring a visa application from every other country in the world – are listed as Afghanistan, Somalia and Turkmenistan. 

Secretive North Korea ranks higher as it offers citizens of Switzerland, Singapore and Malaysia visa-free access.

The UK ranks in 51st place in the most welcoming list, allowing citizens from roughly half of the world's countries entry without a visa.

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