In a significant shift, Singapore has surpassed Japan to claim the title of the country with the most powerful passport, according to the latest update of the renowned Henley Passport Index. With visa-free access to an impressive 192 out of 227 global destinations, Singapore passport holders now enjoy unparalleled travel privileges.
Over the past decade, this southeastern Asian city-state, home to over 6 million people, has steadily risen in the Henley Passport Index rankings. Gaining five places and increasing its score by 25, Singapore’s ascendancy to the top spot signifies a momentous achievement.
Henley and Partners, the world’s largest residence and citizenship advisory firm with 25 years of institutional experience, operates in 40 offices worldwide and advises more than 20,000 clients. In 2006, the firm initiated the Passport Index, using data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
How the index works
The Index provides a rating to every passport according to its visa needs for different travel destinations. A rating of 1 is given when no visa is needed, when a visa can be obtained on arrival, or when the passport holders are eligible for an electronic travel authority (ETA). On the other hand, a rating of 0 is assigned when a visa is required or when a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) is compulsory before leaving.
In the 2023 ranking, Italy, Germany, and Spain share the second spot with their citizens enjoying visa-free access to 190 destinations. Japan, which held the top spot in the previous year, has slipped to third place, offering its passport holders access to 189 destinations, down from 193 in 2022.
Alongside Japan, passports from Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden also secure the third position.
The ‘Anglosphere,’ comprising traditionally dominant countries, did not perform as expected, with the United Kingdom ranking fourth, alongside Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands, granting their citizens access to 188 destinations without a visa.
Australia, Hungary, and Poland follow closely, tied in the same group. Canada and Greece share the seventh spot, while the United States ranks eighth, alongside Lithuania, with visa-free access to 184 countries.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, war-torn, politically unstable, and terrorism-affected countries occupy the lower ranks.
The Palestinian Territory ranks 98th, with only 38 countries accessible without a visa. Somalia and Yemen share the 99th spot with access to 35 countries, while Pakistan ranks 100th with 33 countries, followed by Syria (30 countries), Iraq (29 countries), and Afghanistan (27 countries).
Beyond facilitating travel, Henley and Partners emphasize that a powerful passport provides significant financial freedom for international investments and business opportunities. As geopolitical volatility and regional instability increase, global connectivity and access remain vital for wealth creation and preservation.
To enable individuals to compare their passports with those of three other countries simultaneously, the Henley Global website offers an informative tool. As Singapore takes the lead in global passport power, the Henley Passport Index continues to serve as a valuable resource for travelers seeking international opportunities.