Japan and Singapore have world’s most powerful passports

UK ranks joint sixth

Helen Coffey
Thursday 04 July 2019 08:14 BST
Japan, Singapore and South Korea have world's most powerful passports

Japan and Singapore have the world’s most powerful passports, according to new research.

The two Asian nations claimed the top spot out of 199 countries, thanks to passports which allow visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 189 places.

Henley Passport Index, compiled by global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, scored countries from all over the world based on how many other destinations citizens can access without having to obtain a visa prior to travel.

The rankings were decided using data from the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

South Korea, which had shared pole position last quarter, has dropped to second place alongside Finland and Germany. All three passports offer access to 187 destinations around the world without a prior visa.

Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg sit in joint third place with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 186 apiece; followed by France, Spain, and Sweden, which score 185 each and share fourth position.

The top five is rounded out by Austria, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland, all of which have 184 points.

The UK and US share sixth place, with a score of 183, alongside Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland and Norway.

One of the most notable shifts in the index was the United Arab Emirates, which entered the top 20 for the first time in the study’s 14-year history.

Over the past five years, the UAE has more than doubled the number of destinations its citizens are able to travel to without a prior visa, bringing it up to a score of 167 and a ranking of 20th.

At the bottom of the pile is Afghanistan, whose passport allows citizens to access just 25 countries without a prior visa.

“With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress,” said Dr Christian H Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index.

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“Discussions of passport power and global mobility tend to focus on the benefits for the countries with the strongest passports.

“However, this latest unique research appears to confirm something that many of us already knew intuitively: that increased visa-openness benefits the entire global community, and not just the strongest countries.”

Most powerful passports

1. Japan

1. Singapore

2. South Korea

2. Finland

2. Germany


3. Italy

3. Luxembourg

4. France

4. Spain

4. Sweden

5. Austria

5. Netherlands

5. Portugal

5. Switzerland

Least powerful passports

105. Somalia

106. Pakistan

107. Syria

108. Iraq

109. Afghanistan

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