Japan, Singapore and South Korea have world's most powerful passports

The UK is in joint fifth place

Cathy Adams
Wednesday 27 March 2019 12:06 GMT
Japan, Singapore and South Korea have world's most powerful passports

Japan, Singapore and South Korea have the world’s strongest passports, according to a new ranking.

Citizens of all three countries can visit 189 nations without getting a visa before travel, according to the latest Henley Passport Index.

Advisory firm Henley & Partners, which ranks countries' passport power, said the tie was a “resounding demonstration of Asia’s growing power and influence on the world stage”.

Japan was previously ranked in sole first place in the 2019 Henley Passport Index.

In the latest ranking, Germany came in second place, with citizens able to access 188 countries without a prior visa. This follows a visa exemption from Uzbekistan.

Five countries with a score of 187 are ranked joint third – Denmark, Finland, France, Italy and Sweden.

The UK is in joint fifth place, with citizens able to access 185 countries. Despite the ongoing political chaos around Brexit, the process has not yet affected the UK’s standing in the index.

From 11pm 29 March, every indication is that the European Union will classify British visitors as having “third country, visa-free” status and UK travellers will become subject to the standard rules of admission for citizens of nations such as the US, Japan and Australia.

Starting in 2021, British travellers will certainly need to apply for an online "Etias" visa waiver to visit the Schengen Area – which includes almost all European Union countries plus a few more.

The US is in joint sixth place with a score of 184.

At the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan and Iraq are at the bottom of the ranking with a score of just 30.

In terms of fast risers, the UAE is currently at 21st place with citizens able to access 165 destinations, having risen from joint 61st place a decade ago.

Elsewhere Albania, with a score of 116, has moved up 28 places on the index over the past 10 years; while China has risen 12 places to 67th place.

“The Henley Passport Index has always been an important tool for global travellers, but the index reveals more than just the relative strength of the world’s passports,” said Dr Christian H Kälin, chairman of Henley & Partners.

“Crucially, it is also a lens into the kind of world we are living in, and the kinds of policies states are pursuing. With some notable exceptions, there is a growing acknowledgment that policies of engagement, collaboration, and openness yield the greatest results, for both individual nations and the global community as a whole.

“The current strength of Asian passports is emblematic of this progressive shift, and it seems certain that more and more countries will follow suit in order to benefit from global flows of talent and capital.”

World’s strongest passports

1. Japan

1. Singapore

1. South Korea

2. Germany

3. Denmark

3. Finland

3. France

3. Italy

3. Sweden

4. Luxembourg

4. Spain

5. Austria

5. Netherlands

5. Norway

5. Portugal

5. Switzerland

5. United Kingdom

6. Belgium

6. Canada

6. Greece

6. Ireland

6. United States of America

7. Czech Republic

8. Malta

9. Australia

10. Hungary

10. Latvia

10. Lithuania

10. Slovakia

10. Slovenia

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