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A ranking of the world's most powerful passports shows who gets through airports easily and who doesn't

Chloe Pantazi
Tuesday 30 August 2016 18:12 BST
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(Getty)

If you're British or American, you might think you have the most powerful passport in the world. But a new index by the British immigration and citizenship firm Henley & Partners suggests otherwise.

According to Henley & Partners' Visa Restrictions Index, released Wednesday, Germans hold the strongest passports, giving them visa-free access to 177 countries.

The European nation has held the index's top spot for three years in a row.

The index ranked 199 countries according to the travel freedom each offers its citizens out of a possible 218 countries, using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). According to the index, the IATA holds the largest database of travel information.

Nationalities were awarded points based on the number of other countries their citizens could travel to without a visa, as of January 1.

Sweden came in second place, with visa-free access to 176 countries. The United Kingdom, which held the top spot in the ranking from 2013 to 2015 (including twice tying Germany), came in third place along with Finland, France, Italy, and Spain, with 175 countries at passport holders' fingertips.

The United States dropped from second place in 2015 to fourth place this year, tied with Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands, all of which offer access to 174 countries.

As for nations with the most limited travel, Afghanistan is ranked the worst in 104th place, with access to just 25 countries. Pakistan is second-worst, with travel permitted to 29 countries, and Iraq is third from the bottom, restricted to 30 other countries.

Read more:

• Sweden's economy is on fire – but that's not good
• Amazon sign a major deal that threatens Ocado
• Mervyn King: 'Germany faces a terrible choice'

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2015. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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