For the first time in five years, Japan has lost its top spot, dropping to third in the Henley Passport Rankings. Singapore can now boast of being the country with the most powerful passport in the world, according to the latest ranking. Its citizens can now travel visa-free to 192 of the 227 destinations Henley studied.
Singapore It is not the only country on the rise. the Japanwhich rose to third place, followed by three European countries in second place: Germany, Italy and Spain, which all have visa-free access to 190 destinations.
Japan joins six other countries in third place, with 189 visa-free destinations: Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Sweden and South Korea.
Somewhat surprisingly, that United kingdom It appears to have turned a corner and is moving up the Henley ratings after six years of decline. It found itself in fourth place with 188 countries that can be accessed without a visa, and this result is the highest since 2017.
the United StateOn the other hand, we have not seen such a shift and it continues to fall in the rankings, ranking 8th this year with 184 destinations listed as visa-free, the same number as Lithuania. We must not forget that ten years ago the United States and the United Kingdom occupied the top of the Henley Index, which indicates the impact of geopolitical changes in the world.
Afghanistan, whose passport holders can only visit 27 destinations without a visa, remains at the bottom of the ranking. Slightly higher are Iraq with a score of 29 and Syria with a score of 30 which completes the three “weakest” passports in the world.
Looking at the overall trend over the 18 years of the Henley Passport ranking, the average number of visa-free destinations has nearly doubled, from 58 in 2006 to 109 in 2023. Despite this, the mobility gap between the highest and lowest ranking countries is greater than it used to be. How ever: Singaporean passport holders can visit 166 more destinations without a visa compared to Afghani passport holders.
The American passport is still losing its international force
Only eight countries have less access to visa-free destinations than a decade ago, showing that countries are increasingly opening up to give their citizens greater freedom to travel. The United Arab Emirates added 107 visa-free destinations, moving up 44 places in the ranking. Singapore added 25 points, bringing it to first place. On the other hand, the United States only added 12 new destinations, which is the smallest increase among the top ten countries.
Greg Lindsey, of Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute, believes that from a purely mechanistic standpoint, “the story is simple: by staying somewhat still, the United States has lagged behind.” Although its absolute score has indeed increased over the past decade, the United States has been consistently overtaken by competitors such as South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. America’s inexorable drop in the rankings is a warning to its neighbor, Canada, as well as to the rest of the Anglosphere.”
The Openness Index reveals huge disparities between rich and poor countries
Along with the Passport Index, the Henley Openness Index paints a damning picture of America’s approach to welcoming citizens of developing countries. While US passport holders can visit 184 countries without a visa, the US itself only allows 44 other countries to visit without a visa, which puts it at 78.H Henley opening index rank.
Only Australia shows greater disparity, although Canada is not far behind, as are New Zealand and Japan. Interestingly, these five countries have remained stable or declining in the ranking of the most open countries when it comes to passports over the past decade.
Yossi Harpaz, a renowned sociologist at Tel Aviv University, says the data clearly shows that the relationship between travel freedom (passport arrangement) and openness is complex and non-linear. The diplomatic, social and economic realities as well as the strategic goals of countries have a great influence on these factors, leading to a complex web of interrelationships. As the global landscape evolves, so do these patterns, reflecting the dynamic nature of global mobility. »
Greg Lindsay of Cornell Tech goes on to explain that while the relationship between a high degree of openness and a high degree of visa-free access isn’t very clear in the data, “it’s worth noting that Singapore and South Korea — both of which have risen significantly in the Passport Index over the past decade — , rising from the sixth and seventh places, respectively, in 2013 to the first and third places today – showing relatively high degrees of openness. High, while the United States and Canada fell in the ranking of the top ten countries due to the stagnation of their degree of openness.
Here’s the recently updated ranking of the ten most powerful passports in the world in 2023 (which now includes 34 countries):
- Singapore: 192
- Germany: 190
- Italy: 190
- Spain: 190
- Austria: 189
- Finland: 189
- France: 189
- Japan: 189
- Luxembourg: 189
- South Korea: 189
- Sweden: 189
- Denmark: 188
- Ireland: 188
- Netherlands: 188
- United Kingdom: 188
- Belgium: 187
- Czech Republic: 187
- Malta: 187
- New Zealand: 187
- Norway: 187187
- Portugal: 187
- Switzerland: 187
- Australia: 186
- Hungary: 186
- Poland: 186
- Canada: 186,185
- Greece: 185
- Lithuania: 184
- United States: 184
- Latvia: 183
- Slovakia: 183
- Slovenia: 183
- Estonia: 182
- Iceland: 182
You can also explore the full arrangement in detail.
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Duncan Madden
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