World’s most powerful passports revealed but no sign of unrestricted international travel

The most recent rankings for the world’s most powerful passports have been named.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions all over the world, it is unlikely travellers who hold them will be able to use its power as they were before the pandemic.

Japan has topped the list in the latest Henley Passport Index.

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HPI ranks passports based on the number of countries travellers can visit without obtaining a visa or receiving one on arrival.

Japanese can visit 193 countries visa-free, followed closely by Singapore (192), Germany and South Korea (both 191).

Over the past years, the US passport has fallen from the number one spot to 7th place, a position it currently shares with the UK and New Zealand with visa-free travel to 187 countries.

Australia and Canada are both ranked at 9th place with access to 185 countries visa-free.

However, the 2021 rankings do not take into account COVID-19 restrictions around the world.

Dr Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of leading residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, says that the latest ranking provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary upheaval that characterized 2020.

“Just a year ago all indications were that the rates of global mobility would continue to rise, that travel freedom would increase, and that holders of powerful passports would enjoy more access than ever before. The global lockdown negated these glowing projections, and as restrictions begin to lift, the results from the latest index are a reminder of what passport power really means in a world upended by the pandemic.”

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India ranks at 84th place with visa-free travel to just 58 countries.

While over the last decade, China has climbed 22 places on the index, from 90th to 68th spot, increasing its access to visa-free countries from 40 to 77. 

Afghanistan was at the bottom of the passport list, followed by Iraq and Syria.

The world’s most powerful passports

  1. Japan (193 destinations)
  2. Singapore (192)
  3. Germany, South Korea (191)
  4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (190)
  5. Austria, Denmark (189)
  6. France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden (188)
  7. New Zealand, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (187)
  8. Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Norway (186)
  9. Australia, Canada (185)
  10. Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia (183)

The least powerful

  1. Afghanistan (26)
  2. Iraq (28)
  3. Syria (29)
  4. Pakistan (32)
  5. Yemen (33)
  6. Somalia (34)
  7. Palestinian territories (37)
  8. Nepal (38)
  9. North Korea (39)
  10. Kosovo, Libya (40)