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Thursday 13 January 2022

Discover the most powerful passports on the planet

Passport holders from Singapore and Japan are the luckiest in the world.

The latest results from the Henley Passport Index show record-breaking levels of travel freedom for citizens of Japan and Singapore, but also the widest recorded global mobility gap since the index's inception 17 years ago.

Without taking temporary Covid-related restrictions into account, passport holders of the two Asian nations can now enter 192 destinations around the world visa-free - which is 166 more than Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the index.

The deepening divide in international mobility between wealthier countries and poorer ones was bought into sharp focus late last year by a raft of Covid restrictions against mainly African nations that United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres described as akin to "travel apartheid."

According to historical data, an individual could, on average, visit 57 countries in 2006 visa-free. 

Today, that number has risen to 107, but this overall increase masks a growing disparity between countries in the global north and those in the global south, with nationals from countries such as Sweden and the US able to visit more than 180 destinations visa-free, while passport holders from Angola, Cameroon, and Laos can only enter about 50.

Germany and South Korea hold onto joint second spot on the latest ranking, with passport holders able to access 190 destinations visa-free, while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain share third place, with a score of 189.

The US and the UK passports have regained some of their previous strength after falling in 2020 with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 186.

Australians have 185 visa-free or visa-on-arrival destinations.

Dr Christian H Kaeilin, the inventor of the passport index concept, says opening up migration channels is essential for post-pandemic recovery.

"Passports and visas are among the most important instruments impacting on social inequality worldwide as they determine opportunities for global mobility," he said.

"The borders within which we happen to be born, and the documents we are entitled to hold, are no less arbitrary than our skin color. Wealthier states need to encourage positive inward migration to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources worldwide."

rong' nation can heavily impact on your access to business, health, and medical services, and make it impossible for some to travel."

Read the index:

Image: Axel Buekert,


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