As we enter 2020, Asian countries have firmly established their lead as having the most powerful passports in the world (according to a brand new report from the Henley Passport Index).
The Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
For the third consecutive year, Japan has secured the top spot on the index with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 191.
Singapore holds onto its 2nd-place position with a score of 190, while South Korea drops down a rank to 3rd place alongside Germany, giving their passport holders visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 189 destinations worldwide.
The US and the UK continue their downward trajectory on the index’s rankings. While both countries remain in the top 10, their shared 8th-place position is a significant decline from the number one spot they jointly held in 2015.
And where did Australia come in you may ask? We scored equal ninth place (the same as last year) with a score of 183.
Elsewhere in the top 10, Finland and Italy share 4th place, with a score of 188, while Denmark, Luxembourg, and Spain together hold 5th place, with a score of 187.
The UAE, on the other hand, has climbed a remarkable 47 places over the past 10 years and now sits in 18th place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 171.
On the other end of the travel freedom spectrum, Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the index, with its nationals only able to visit a mere 26 destinations visa-free.
Chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept Dr Christian H. Kaelin commented that the latest ranking provided “a fascinating insight into a rapidly changing world”.
“Asian countries’ dominance of the top spots is a clear argument for the benefits of open-door policies and the introduction of mutually beneficial trade agreements,” he said.
“The latest rankings show that the countries that embrace this reality are thriving, with their citizens enjoying ever-increasing passport power and the array of benefits that come with it.”
While the latest results from the Henley Passport Index show that globally, people are more mobile than ever before, they also indicate a growing divide when it comes to travel freedom, with Japanese passport holders able to access 165 more destinations around the world than Afghan nationals, for example.
Analysis of historical data from the index reveals that this extraordinary global mobility gap is the starkest it has been since the index’s inception in 2006.
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