World's most powerful passports for 2019 revealed

World's most powerful passports for 2019 revealed

The world's most powerful passport in the third quarter of 2019 is Japan and Singapore’s passport, according to the Henley Passport Index, with with both citizens enjoying visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 destinations across the world. 

Finland, Germany and South Korea jointly hold the second position on the list with access to 187 destinations around the globe while Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg are in the third place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 187 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa. 

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan's formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates -- but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

The European countries of Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg hold third place in the index, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries, while France, Spain and Sweden are in the fourth slot, with a score of 185.

While the Brexit process has yet to directly impact on the UK's ranking, the Henley Passport Index press release observes, "with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain."

The United Arab Emirates continues its ascent up the rankings, entering the top 20 for the first time in the index's 14-year history. In just five years, the UAE has more than doubled the number of jurisdictions its citizens can enter without a prior visa.

Australia is in the top ten in the latest Henley Passport Index.

Australian passports are considered one of the safest in the world, but they are probably the most expensive in the world. Australia has been rated at the ninth spot along with Iceland, Lithuania, New Zealand in Henley Passport Index and an Australian passport holder has a facility of visa-free travel or visa-on-arrival access to 180 countries.

Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the global mobility spectrum, with its citizens able to access only 25 destinations worldwide without a prior visa.

The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.

World's Most Powerful Passports

1. Japan, Singapore (189 countries)

2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (187 countries)

3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186 countries)

4. France, Spain, Sweden (185 countries)

5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184 countries)

6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States (183 countries)

7. Malta (182 countries)

8. Czech Republic (181 countries)

9. Australia, Iceland, Lithuania, New Zealand (180 countries)

10. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (179)

World's weakest passports to hold

Several countries around the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to fewer than 40 countries. These include:

101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea (39 destinations)

102. Nepal (38)

103. Libya, Palestinian Territory, Sudan (37)

104. Yemen (33)

105. Somalia (31)

106. Pakistan (30)

107. Syria (29)

108. Iraq (27)

109. Afghanistan (25)

“With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress. Discussions of passport power and global mobility tend to focus on the benefits for the countries with the strongest passports. However, this latest unique research appears to confirm something that many of us already knew intuitively: that increased visa-openness benefits the entire global community, and not just the strongest countries,” Dr Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, said.

Where does the Indian passport stand?

India’s passport has dropped from 79th to 86th position on the index with visa-free access or visa-on-arrival reducing to 58 countries as of third quarter of 2019.

Indian passport has dropped further down on the list.

Indian passport holders can travel visa-free to Indonesia, Qatar, Fiji among others and has visa-on-arrival access to Maldives, Thailand, Kenya among others.

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Other Indexes

Henley & Partner's list is one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.The Henley Passport Index is based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations. It is updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect. Arton Capital's Passport Index takes into consideration the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories -- ROC Taiwan, Macau (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican. Territories annexed to other countries are excluded.Its 2019 index puts the UAE on top with a "visa-free score" of 173, followed by Finland, Luxembourg and Spain with 168, and, -- in joint third place with scores of 167 -- Denmark, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Ireland and the United States.

Dual Citizenship

It is possible for an Australian citizen to hold citizenship of two or more countries if the law of those countries allows. This is known as dual, or multiple, citizenship.

Courtesy of: Henley Passport Index

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