Passports yield a whole lot of power. For some, the little booklet of stamps can have you whizz through border control within the hour, while others with not-so-powerful passports are left queuing for hours just to get a visa.
But which country has the world’s most powerful passport? To find out, The Henley Passport Index looks at data from the International Air Transport Association every quarter and ranks global passports based on the number of countries they can be used to visit visa-free, and the latest rankings might be different from what you have in mind.
According to the Global Passport Index, holders of the Asian city-state’s travel documents can cross borders more smoothly than any others.
The new ranking comes after a recent decision by Paraguay to remove visa requirements for the 3.4 million holders of Singaporean passports, meaning 159 countries can now be visited without needing extra documentation.
Germany is in second place, whose citizens are able to visit 158 countries without obtaining a visa first. Sweden and South Korea jointly took out third place.
The UK is tied in fourth place along with Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, and Japan. Australia and New Zealand were both ranked seventh with a score of 153.
A Japanese passport provides hassle-free entry to 193 countries, one more than those from Singapore and South Korea. Singapore and South Korea held onto the joint second spot on the latest ranking, with passport holders able to access 192 destinations visa-free, while Germany and Spain shared third place with a score of 190.
While American passport holders can access 184 (out of 227) destinations visa-free, the US itself only allows 44 other nationalities to pass through its borders visa-free, putting it way down the Henley Openness Index in 78th place (compared to 8th place on the Henley Passport Index). When comparing the two rankings, the USA’s disparity in access versus its openness is the second biggest, narrowly trailing only Australia (and barely outpacing Canada). New Zealand and Japan also make it into the Top 5 countries with the biggest difference between the travel freedom they enjoy versus the visa-free access they provide to other nationalities. It is interesting to note that these five nations have all either dropped down the Henley Passport Index rankings or remained in the same place over the last ten years.
Indian passport is ranked 80th in 2023 with access to 57 visa-free destinations.
The general trend over the history of the 18-year-old ranking has been towards greater travel freedom, with the average number of destinations travelers are able to access visa-free nearly doubling from 58 in 2006 to 109 in 2023. However, the global mobility gap between those at the top and bottom of the index is now wider than it has ever been, with top-ranked Singapore able to access 165 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan.
If you hold a Singaporean passport, you’re in luck.
The Southeast Asian country’s citizenship document officially ranks as the most powerful in the world, according to the latest Henley Passport Index, which was published Tuesday.
According to the index, Singaporeans can travel to 192 out of 227 travel destinations in the world without a visa.
In a “major shake-up,” Singapore beat out Japan, which has ranked No. 1 on the index for the last five years.