According to the Henley Passport Index, which periodically ranks the world’s passports in order of the number of countries that its holders have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to, three Asian countries – Japan, Singapore, and South Korea – jointly occupy the first position with access to 189 countries.
Germany is in close second position with visa-free/ visa-on-arrival to 188 countries, thanks to a recent visa agreement with Uzbekistan.
This dynamic rating has seen a major shift over the last few years. For example, in 2015, the United Kingdom and the United States of America jointly held the first position.
The Henley Passport Index is based on authoritative data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and bases its rankings on how many countries a passport entitles a traveller to enter without having to pre-apply for a visa.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, says despite rising isolationist sentiment in some parts of the world, most countries remain committed to collaboration and mutually beneficial agreements.
“Historical data from the Henley Passport Index over the past 14 years shows an overwhelming global tendency towards visa openness,” he said in a release.
“In 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by the end of 2018, this number had nearly doubled to 107.”
World’s most powerful passports in 2019, according to Henley Passport Index:
(Score reveals the number of countries and territories citizens have visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to)
- Japan, Singapore, South Korea Score: 189
- Germany Score: 188
- Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, France Score: 187
- Luxembourg, Spain Score: 186
- Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, United Kingdom
- Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, United States of America Score: 184
- Czech Republic Score: 183
- Malta Score: 182
- Australia, Iceland, New Zealand Score: 181
- Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia Score: 180
The countries with the least amount of travel freedom include Pakistan, with holders only able to travel freely to 33 destinations, and Somalia and Syria at 32 destinations. Afghanistan and Iraq ranked the lowest, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 30.