Singapore Overtakes Japan as World’s Most Powerful Passport, According to Henley Passport Index
In a groundbreaking revelation, Singapore’s passport has emerged as the world’s most powerful, according to the latest Henley Passport Index published on Tuesday. This Southeast Asian nation’s passport allows its citizens to enjoy visa-free travel privileges to a remarkable 192 out of 227 countries.
Japan, which had held the prestigious top spot for five consecutive years, now shares the second position with Germany, Italy, and Spain, boasting access to 190 visa-free travel destinations. Moreover, Japan is now tied for third place with six other countries, including Austria, France, Finland, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden, with their passport holders enjoying visa-free travel to 189 destinations.
Meanwhile, the United States experienced a slight setback, dropping one spot from the previous year’s rankings to claim the eighth position. Alongside Lithuania, American passport holders can avail visa-free access to 184 destinations. The US and the UK have witnessed a downward trend since 2014, when their passports ranked first globally.
Henley & Partners, a prominent global migration consultancy based in London, reported that the US witnessed a modest increase of 12 visa-free destinations over the past decade, marking the smallest growth among the top 10 countries in the index. Additionally, only eight nations have experienced a decrease in visa access compared to a decade ago.
Global strategist Greg Lindsay from Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute pointed out that the declining passport ranking of the US signifies a trend of Western countries “falling behind.” He urged neighboring Canada and other nations in the Anglosphere to take note of this development.
Regarding openness, the US received a low score, permitting only 44 other nationalities to visit visa-free.
The Henley Passport Index also highlighted the three weakest passports globally, belonging to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. These passports grant their holders access to a mere 30, 29, and 27 destinations, respectively.
As visa-free travel has expanded for many travelers, the gap between the top and bottom ranked passports has also widened. Henley & Partners revealed that the average number of visa-free destinations for travelers has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to an impressive 109 in 2023. However, Singapore leads the charge with a staggering 165 more visa-free destinations than Afghanistan, underscoring the vast global mobility gap.
The Henley Passport Index relies on data from the International Air Transport Association, a major travel information database, to present a comprehensive picture of passport strengths worldwide.