Japanese Passport Tops 2018 Visa-Free Travel Index

Frederick Owens
October 11, 2018

There's a new leader on the global passport index.

Having gained visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month, Japanese citizens can now enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a whopping 190 destinations around the world - knocking Singapore, with 189 destinations, into second place.

Japan and Singapore have been neck and neck on the index since they both climbed to 1st place in February - following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan - and pushed Germany down to 2nd place for the first time since 2014.

Last year, a ranking of passports by worldwide global financial advisory firm Arton Capital showed that the Philippine passport is moderately weak, with its holders having visa-free access to only 61 countries.

Taiwan moved up from No. 31 from past year to No. 29, as the countries it has visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to has increased from 134 to 148.

According to the 2018 Henley Passport Index released on Tuesday, Iraq and Afghanistan are tied for the least desirable passport in terms of how many countries to which they allow their holders to travel.

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It is updated regularly to reflect changes in the number of visa-waiver agreements signed between countries.

It includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations.

This places Lebanon as 100th down the list alongside Libya, Bangladesh, and South Sudan, dropping three places from past year out of 106 countries.

What has been most remarkable in recent years is the UAE's stunning ascent on the Henley Passport Index, from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place worldwide now.

A score with 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.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says countries with citizenship-by-investment programs all fall within the top 50 of the index. Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI programme in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008.

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