The Japanese passport is the most powerful of all, as it opens the doors to 190 destinations without the need for a visa.
As the axis of the world tips closer to isolationism, the power of the passport might be more critical than ever. That power is measured according to the document's ability to get its holder to a destination without the need for a visa or even a gain of a visa. And on that criterion alone, the Japanese passport is the most powerful of all.
Research culled from the 2018 Henley Passport Index issued on October 3rd, indicates that Japan's passport is good at 190 destinations visa-free, one more than Singapore, which occupied the 2017 top berth with 189 locations. Myanmar dropped its visa requirements to Japanese visitors earlier this year, which was enough for Japan's passport to earn top power status.
France, Germany and South Korea are tied in third place with 188 visa-free destinations. While Germany's ranking didn't change, France gained access to Uzbekistan, while South Korea was granted visa-free status, which warranted both nations to jump to third.
Japan has the most powerful passport in the world. The U.S. ranks 5th. Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria are among the worst. Rankings are based on how many places you can travel with no visa or visa on arrival. pic.twitter.com/oQU6uAqjQA— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) October 9, 2018
In fourth at 187 are Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. Sitting in fifth place are the UK and the US., each with 186, which dropped to fifth due to a legislation that bars visitors from access to either nation without a visa since the beginning of 2018. The two nations share the slot with Austria, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal. Ironically, in 2015, both the UK and the US had the most powerful passports in the world.
The biggest leaps in the index belong to Georgia, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates, each jumping 41 slots. In particular, the UAE currently has the most powerful passport in the Middle East and is in 21st place. In the cellar are Afghanistan and Iraq in 106th place. Their passports only allow their holders to enter 30 destinations without the need for a visa.
Created by British-based law firm Henley and Partners, which specializes in the development of programs for residency and citizenship in other countries, the Henley Passport Index was created to rank the quality of travel freedom in each nation. The firm, using information from the International Air Transport Association, updates the index in real time, whenever governments change legislation affecting visas.