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Every year, the list of powerful passports around the world is released to inform the world of which countries enjoy the most—and least—freedom in movement in terms of visa-free arrangements and limitations.
The release of the latest Henley Passport Index highlights little change in the top 10 most powerful passports compared to the last ranking. Keep reading to find out the Henley Passport Index ranking for the year 2023.
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World passport latest news & updates 2023
Although Japan held the record for being the most powerful passport in the world, ranking one for five years in the Henley Passport Index, the country has now been knocked down to third place
After five years of taking up the first position, Singapore has now taken over Japan as the holder of the most powerful passport in the world, ranking one in the Henley Passport Index. The citizens of Singapore are able to visit 193 destinations out of 227 around the world visa-free.
World’s top 20 powerful passports in 2023
According to the Henley passport index, the strongest passports in the world are as follows:
- Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Finland, France, Japan, South Korea, Sweden (tied)
- Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, UK (tied)
- Belgium, Malta, Norway, Portugal tied)
- Czechia Republic, Poland, Switzerland, New Zealand (tied)
- Canada, Greece, Australia, Hungary (tied)
- Lithuania, United States (tied)
- Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (tied)
- Cyprus, Liechtenstein (tied)
- United Arab Emirates
- Bulgaria, Romania (tied)
- Croatia, Monaco (tied)
- San Marino
- Argentina, Hong Kong SAR (tied)
World’s 10 least powerful passports in 2023
Some of the least powerful passports are:
- Somalia, Yemen (tied)
- Palestinian Territory
- North Korea, Bangladesh (tied)
- Libya, Sri Lanka (tied)
What is the Henley Passport Index?
The Henley Passport Index is an authoritative ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The index is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – the largest, most accurate travel information database, and enhanced by Henley & Partners’ research team. Similar to the Henley Passport Index, there are other global passport ranking systems in place, such as the Passport Index.
As per the Henley Passport Index for the year 2023, minor changes have been highlighted among the top 10 most powerful passports compared to the last ranking. Singapore passport holders now enjoy unrestricted access to 193 destinations out of 227 around the world visa-free, while Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Finland, France, Japan, South Korea, and Sweden are tied in second place on the index, enjoying a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 190. Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the UK are joint third, with visa-free access to 189 destinations worldwide.
The UAE has now climbed up to rank 13 from the previous rank of 15, which is the highest spot the Arab world’s second-largest economy has achieved since the index was launched in 2006. Qatar and Kuwait hold 57th and 59th ranks on the Henley passport power index, respectively, and Saudi Arabia is ranked 67th. With the UK’s new ETA scheme beginning this year, all GCC state nationals will enjoy visa-free travel across the UK.
What is the methodology of passport ranking?
The Henley Passport Index analyses passports based on visa-free travel possibilities, as well as how hospitable countries are to international visitors.
- for each travel destination, if no visa is required for passport holders from a country or territory, then a score with value = 1 is created for that passport.
- a score with a value = 1 is also applied if passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering the destination. These visa types require no pre-departure government approval because of the specific visa-waiver programs in place.
- where a visa is required, or where a passport holder has to obtain a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) before departure, a score with value = 0 is assigned.
- a score with value = 0 is also assigned if passport holders need pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival, a scenario which is not considered ‘visa-free’.
For instance, Singapore holds the number one spot on the index and has a record-high visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 192, as Singapore passport holders can visit 192 countries without having to obtain prior visa documents. This is also the reason why there are several countries tied with the same score, such as Belgium, Czech Republic, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, and Switzerland, sharing the fifth place on the passport index, as they all have a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 187.
What does it mean to have a powerful passport ranking?
It simply refers to a passport with fewer limitations, such as not requiring visas for vacation excursions. A powerful passport gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to travel. Many nations will let you enter if you have a strong passport, and you may frequently do so without paying any visa fees. For instance, if you hold a European passport, for example, you can travel to any Euro Zone nation without a visa.