In Depth

The most powerful passports in the world

UK slides down the list for hassle-free access as Asian nations lead

Japan and Singapore have the world’s most travel-friendly passports, according to the latest global rankings.

London-based citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners rates passport strength according to the number of countries that holders can enter either without needing a visa or by using a visa obtained instantly on arrival.

Holders of Japanese and Singapore passports enjoy hassle-free access to 189 countries, followed by citizens of Finland, Germany and South Korea, who can freely enter 187 countries.

Meanwhile, “with Brexit looming, the UK has slid down the list”, says Yahoo! News.

The UK trails behind in joint six place, alongside the US, Canada, Belgium, Greece, Ireland and Norway. Five years ago, the UK and the US topped the charts.

That drop may be attributed in part to recent changes to Pakistan’s formerly highly restrictive visa policies, suggests CNN. Pakistan now offers “ ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates - but not, notably, the United States or the UK”, the US-based news network reports.

The bottom place in the rankings is occupied by Afghanistan, whose citizens need a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Several countries, many of which are in the Middle East, have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to fewer than 40 countries.

However, “with a few notable exceptions”, the latest rankings show that countries around the world “increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress”, says Henley & Partners chair Dr Christian Kaelin.

Here are the most powerful passports in the world, according to the latest index:

1. Japan, Singapore (189 destinations)

2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (187)

3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186)

4. France, Spain, Sweden (185)

5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184)

6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States (183)

7. Malta (182)

8. Czech Republic (181)

9. Australia, Iceland, Lithuania, New Zealand (180)

10. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (179)

 
And the least powerful passports:

100. Kosovo (41 destinations)

101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea (39)

102. Nepal (38)

103. Libya, Palestinian Territory, Sudan (37)

104. Yemen (33)

105. Somalia (31)

106. Pakistan (30)

107. Syria (29)

108. Iraq (27)

109. Afghanistan (25)

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