World's most powerful passport revealed as United Kingdom slips down the rankings

Frederick Owens
January 9, 2019

The "continued dominance" of Asian countries in the passport index reflects the "extraordinary effect that worldwide mobility and migration has had on the region", said Henley & Partners, a citizenship advisory firm.

At the bottom of the 2019 ranking is Iraq and Afghanistan, with access to just 30 visa-free destinations each. Belgians, Canadians and Greeks can also go to 184 countries without a visa. Singapore, South Korea are placed second with access to 189 each while France and Germany share the third spot with access to 188 each.

The Henley Passport Index (HPI) is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom for their citizens.

European countries also performed favorably, with European Union member states (along with Norway and the US) filling in the places behind the top three nations - although the United Kingdom continues to drop down the rankings, along with the US.

The rest of the top 10 is made up of Belgium, Canada, Greece and Ireland in seventh place, the Czech Republic in eighth, Malta in ninth and Australia, Iceland and New Zealand in 10th.

Denmark, Italy, Finland, and Sweden share joint 4th place, with access to 187 destinations around the globe. Experts explain a significant drop from the top spot in 2015 by the policy of "closed doors" waged by both countries.

Some countries that require additional visa applications for Irish passport holders include: India, Vietnam, Russia, Nigeria and Afghanistan.

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The Ghanaian passport has been ranked 77th strongest in a world ranking of passports which was dominated by Asian countries.

Elsewhere in the region, China jumped nearly 20 places in just two years, from 85th in 2017 to 69th this year.

In collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and based on official data from their global database Henley & Partners has analyzed the visa regulations of all the countries and territories in the world since 2006.

Similarly, the United Arab Emirates continues its upward trajectory, now holding top spot in the Middle East region and 22nd place globally.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, said, "Historical data from the Henley Passport Index over the past 14 years shows an overwhelming global tendency towards visa-openness".

'In 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by the end of 2018, this number had almost doubled to 107'.

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