UK passport falls to sixth strongest in the world

Japan holds top spot, while UK falls in the global passport ranking

With the introduction of e-visas to Turkey, the UK’s position in the global Henley Passport Index has weakened. The number of visa-free and visa-on-arrival countries British passport holders can enter has dropped from 186 to 185, which drops it to being the sixth strongest passport in the world.

Japan’s passport has ranked as the strongest for two consecutive years now. Japanese passport holders can travel to 190 countries without having to apply for a visa before arrival.

Japan holds the top spot for the second year in a row — Shutterstock UK passport falls to sixth strongest in the world — Shutterstock
Japan holds the top spot for the second year in a row — Shutterstock

The first three places in the index belong to Asian countries, with Singapore and South Korea being the runners-up. A whole range of European countries dominate the subsequent ranks. The US shares sixth place with the UK and several other European countries.

On the other hand, passports of Iraq and Afghanistan are the weakest. Their citizens can enter a mere 30 countries without applying for a visa.

In 2006, when the Henley Passport Index was published for the first time, the UK ranked joint third with 128 countries on its list. However, its position had been soundly improving over the following years. In 2015, the British passport ranked joint first in the global index.

It is still not known what will happen with visas for British people following Brexit — Shutterstock UK passport falls to sixth strongest in the world — Shutterstock
It is still not known what will happen with visas for British people following Brexit — Shutterstock

What happens to the British passport and visa requirements after Brexit is still up in the air. Nonetheless, in the case of a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has confirmed British passport holders will be able to purchase a €7 travel permit up to 72 hours before travel.

“The general spread of open-door policies has the potential to contribute billions to the global economy, as well as create significant employment opportunities around the world,” said Christian H. Kälin, chairman of Henley & Partners and the index’s founder.

“South Korea and the United Arab Emirates’ recent ascent in the rankings are further examples of what happens when countries take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly benefits their citizens as well as the international community.”