Japan has the most powerful passport in the world according to the Henley Passport Index. That means that Japanese passport holders may enter visa-free or visa-on-arrival in a record total of 189 destinations. Singapore and Germany both come in second to Japan, with 188 destinations available for entry without via to holders of passport from the two countries.
Occupying the third spot are six countries from Asia (South Korea) and Europe (Finland, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden). Tied in fourth place are the US, the UK, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal.
In the past, European countries have consistently occupied the highest rankings at the Henley Passport index because of the Schengen Agreement in which member nations have borderless access with each other. However, Asian countries were able to enjoy an increase in rankings of late due to robust international trade and political relations.
Gauging passport strength
Passport strength is evaluated based on information gathered from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The Henley Passport Index evaluates a total of 199 different passports against 227 different travel destinations, including countries, territories, and micro-states.
From there, it looks at the total number of destinations that accept each passport without visa or via visa-on-arrival arrangement. Based on these data, individuals will have an idea on how many countries they can easily travel to with the passport that they have.
UAE is the fastest climber
While UAE occupies the 23rd place in the Henley Passport Index, it was able to sustain its momentum as the fastest overall climber as it went up 38 notches in a span of just a decade. In the past, Israel has held this distinction within the Middle East region.
UAE was able to achieve this feat by negotiating for more visa waivers for its populace than any other country in the world. This year alone, UAE was able to secure access to eight new countries, namely China, Ireland, Burkina Faso, Uruguay, Guinea, Tonga, Benin, and Honduras.
“The visa-waiver agreements signed by the UAE to date are very much in line with the country’s ongoing intention to position itself as the foremost commercial hub in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) zone, where it is increasingly hosting the regional headquarters of multinational firms operating in culturally diverse industries such as healthcare, professional and financial services, and digital technologies,” said Ryan Cummings, Director of Signal Risk.
“These developments also reflect the country’s publicized goal of shifting its economic dependence away from the extractive industry towards the tourism sector, where it aims to create an ambitious 720,000 employment opportunities by 2028,” Cummings concluded.
UAE’s rankings is expected to increase in the coming editions of the Henley Passport Index as tourism is one the top priority industries of the Middle East region.
In the coming months, the Henley Passport Index rankings is expected to change significantly because of several factors like strengthening diplomatic and economic relations, as well as the worldwide popularity of international travel.
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