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World’s most powerful passports for 2022 revealed as UK drops down ranking

The Henley Passport Index ranks passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access visa-free

Aisha Rimi
Tuesday 19 July 2022 17:53 BST
Japan topped the list with a score of 193
Japan topped the list with a score of 193 (Getty Images)

The UK passport has dropped in a ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, placing in joint sixth place on the annual list.

The Henley Passport Index, which uses data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), ranks passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival.

Japan topped the list for another year running, giving its holders access to 193 destinations with no visa or without one needing to be issued pre-departure.

Singapore and South Korea came in joint second place, with a score of 192.

EU member states filled up the rest of the top 10 spots, with Germany and Spain in joint-third place, with access to 190 countries visa-free.

Finland, Italy and Luxembourg follow in joint fourth place with 189 destinations, and Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden take fifth place, with their passport holders having access to 188 destinations.

The UK and the US both dropped down the rankings, to sixth and seventh place with access to 187 and 186 countries respectively.

The Russian passport sits at 50th place with a score of 119, with passport holders facing restrictions due to sanctions, travel bans and airspace closures after the nation invaded Ukraine.

The Ukrainian passport takes a higher spot, currently sitting at 35th place, with holders able to access 144 destinations around the world without needing a visa in advance.

Under an emergency plan, Ukrainians have been granted the right to live and work in the EU for up to three years.

Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the index as its nationals can only access 27 destinations worldwide visa-free.

Henley said that the number of countries UK passport holders have unrestricted access to since the start of the pandemic has also risen, from 74 destinations during 2020 when many travel restrictions were in place, to 158 today.

Markets in Europe and North America have recovered to around 60 per cent of pre-pandemic travel mobility levels, according to the Henley Global Mobility Report.

Dr Marie Owens Thomsen, chief economist at IATA, said passenger numbers should reach 83 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

“By next year, many markets should see traffic reach or exceed pre-pandemic levels, while we expect this to be the case for the industry as a whole in 2024,” she said.

10 most powerful passports

  1. Japan 
  2. Singapore and South Korea 
  3. Germany and Spain 
  4. Finland, Italy and Luxembourg 
  5. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden 
  6. France, Ireland, Portugal and UK
  7. Belgium, New Zealand, US, Switzerland and Norway 
  8. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Malta and Greece
  9. Hungary 
  10. Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia

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