The top two most powerful passports of the year are firmly placed in Asia. According to the Henley Passport Index (HPI), Japan and Singapore have held on to their positions as the world’s most powerful passports.
HPI measures the strength of the passports, based on the number of destinations their holders can travel to, without a prior visa. The rankings are based on data obtained by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Currently, Singapore and Japan are the world’s most powerful passports, offering access to 190 countries, out of a maximum 227. South Korea comes in second, alongside Germany and Finland, with all three having access to 188 countries.
This indicates the shift of power to Asia, especially since for most of HPI’s 14-year history, the top spot has been held by a European country or by the United States. This shifted dramatically in 2018, with Asian countries now firmly established as world leaders when it comes to both global economic activity and mobility.
Malaysia and Hong Kong rounded off the top 20, while Brunei just missed out by a single spot, with access to 165 countries. Once again, this indicates the strength of Asian passports when compared to other global powerhouses, including the likes of Brazil, Russia and South Africa.
However, Asian countries aren’t the only ones stealing all the limelight. United Arab Emirates has climbed an extraordinary five places over the last three months after gaining visa-free access to a number of African countries. The UAE now sits in 15th place, with its passport holders able to access 172 destinations without a prior visa.
Meanwhile, the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria continue to occupy the bottom three places, with prior visa access to less than 30 destinations. So the next time you’re looking to travel, be sure to keep a lookout for some visa-free destinations!
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