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The Henley Passport Index found Japan’s passport offers its citizens the most freedom around the world. The number one spot has been held onto by the Asian country for several years, with results based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Japanese passport holders are theoretically able to access a record 193 destinations around the world visa-free.
In second place is Singapore which has visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 192.
Germany and South Korea again shared joint-third place, each with access to 191 destinations.
The UK may have not made it to pole position but it did make it into the top 10.
The British passport came in seventh place alongside Switzerland, the USA, Belgium and New Zealand, all of which have a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 187.
These results contrast greatly to Afghanistan which came right at the bottom of the list.
An Afghan passport only gives access to 26 destinations.
These results indicate that the gap in travel freedom is now at its largest since the index began in 2006.
Other countries of note in the index were China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
China has risen by 22 places in the ranking since 2011, from 90th position with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 40 to 68th position with a score of 77.
Similarly, in 2011, the UAE was ranked 65th with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 67.
However today, thanks to the Emirates’ ongoing efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with countries across the globe, it is ranked 15th with a score of 174.
The Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
The latest findings provide exclusive insight into what post-pandemic travel freedom might look like as countries around the world selectively begin to open their borders to international visitors.
Commenting on the latest ranking, Dr Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, says the past year has demonstrated that no government is infallible – even the world’s superpowers and wealthiest nations floundered – and many failed their citizens.
“While nobody expects a return to pre-pandemic mobility levels anytime soon, the outlook now is certainly more hopeful than it was even a few months ago,” Kaelin said.
“The latest Henley Passport Index ranking is a reminder that economic recovery and development are dependent on global mobility, including personal travel freedom, and that passport power should never be taken for granted.”
Most powerful passports 2021
Japan – 193
Singapore – 192
South Korea & Germany – 191
Italy, Finland, Spain & Luxembourg – 190
Denmark & Austria – 189
Sweden, France, Portugal, Netherlands & Ireland – 188
Switzerland, USA, UK, Belgium & New Zealand – 187
Norway, Greece, Malta & Czech Republic – 186
Canada & Australia – 185
Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary & Poland – 183
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