The most powerful passports in the world are from Japan and Singapore, overtaking Germany which previously held the top spot in the Henley Passport Index. Japanese and Singaporean citizens now enjoy visa-free access to 180 destinations worldwide.
The ranking of the two Asian countries went up when Uzbekistan lifted its visa requirements for Japanese and Singaporean residents in February. Furthermore, the Japanese and Singaporean passports also provide visa-free access to the four major global economies of the world, namely India, China, EU, and the US.
Another notable development is that of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which championed travel freedom in the Middle East, rising by 34 positions on the Henley Passport Index over the last 10 years, and 11 places in the past year alone. UAE citizens can now gain access to 140 destinations worldwide.
China and Indonesia have also made great strides in improving the global mobility of their citizens, each gaining access to 13 additional destinations and climbing 11 and 10 positions on the index, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Philippines maintained its 75th rank out of 105 countries, which means its passport holders may enter 63 countries without a visa.
The countries that sit at the bottom of the Henley Passport Index are Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, each still only able to access 30 or fewer destinations visa-free.
According to Hugh Morshead, member of the Executive Committee of the leading investment migration firm Henley & Partners, global citizenship is on the rise, with more and more individuals seeking opportunities and experiences beyond their countries of origin.
“Borders in certain key parts of the world may be tightening, but elsewhere access is evolving. In terms of visa policies and regulations, every week we are witnessing a growing number of countries — especially outside of the West — opening up their borders to strategic partners as they seek to deepen diplomatic relationships and tap into the immense economic value that tourism, international commerce, and migration can bring,” Morshead added.
Widely acknowledged as the original and most authoritative passport index, the Henley Passport Index holds historical data across 13 years. The Henley Passport Index ranks countries using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which keeps the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information, and supplemented by their own extensive research.
The Henley Passport Index is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes take effect. It includes both countries and territories in its dataset for a more robust and holistic view of global passport power.