Singapore and Japan have the strongest passports in the world

Asian countries have established themselves as world leaders both in global economic activity and global mobility

The Henley Passport Index has issued an update on the most powerful passports in the world. Both Singapore and Japan rank joint-first with a visa-free / visa-on-arrival score of 190 out of 227.

The quarterly index has been comparing passports for the last 14 years. It makes a ranking of all the world’s passports based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the company’s research department.

Japan, together with Singapore, has the strongest passport in the world — Shutterstock
Japan, together with Singapore, has the strongest passport in the world — Shutterstock
 

Up until 2018, the top spot was held either by a European country or the US but since then, Asian countries have positioned themselves as “world leaders when it comes to both global economic activity and global mobility”.

In the second place, with a score of 188, remain Finland, Germany, and South Korea. Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg share the third place and have a visa-free / visa-on-arrival score of 187. On the other hand, both the UK and US have dropped down to joint sixth, with a score of 184, which is the lowest for both since 2010 (in 2014, both countries were in joint first).

EU member states dominate the first 10 spots

Out of the 32 countries that dominate the first 10 spots, 22 of them are EU member states.

Meanwhile, the bottom part of the ranking is dominated by Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan with their respective scores of 29, 27, and 25.

“Our ongoing research has shown that when we talk about ’passport power‘, we are discussing more than simply the destinations a holder can travel to without acquiring a visa in advance,” said Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept. 

“Often, there is a strong correlation between visa freedom and other benefits such as business and investment freedom, independence of the judiciary, fiscal health, and property rights.”

The St. Kitts and Nevis passport is one of the strongest in the Carribean — NAPA / Shutterstock
The St. Kitts and Nevis passport is one of the strongest in the Carribean — NAPA / Shutterstock
 

The index also considers the strongest passports in different regions. For example, Africa’s top three spots are held by Seychelles, Mauritius, and South Africa, respectively.

In the Middle East, the UAE is in the first place, Israel in the second, and Turkey in the third this time around. The Caribbean’s three are held by Barbados, the Bahamas, and St. Kitts and Nevis, respectively.

World’s strongest passports

  1. Singapore
  2. Japan
  3. Finland 
  4. Germany 
  5. South Korea
  6. Denmark
  7. Italy
  8. Luxembourg
  9. France
  10. Sweden
  11. Spain
  12. Austria
  13. Netherlands
  14. Portugal

Least powerful passports

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Iraq
  3. Syria
  4. Somalia
  5. Pakistan
  6. Yemen