World's most powerful passports revealed

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
The Henley Index has published its latest rankings for the world's most powerful passports. Photo: The Henley Index
The Henley Index has published its latest rankings for the world's most powerful passports. Photo: The Henley Index

With the world emerging from the pandemic, most travellers are wiping the dust from their passports and preparing to travel once again. But how powerful is your passport at getting you in?

A trio of Asian passports offer their holders greater global travel freedom than those of any other countries, according to a new quarterly report released by London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners.

This year’s passport rankings 2022 reveal that Japan has bagged the top spot among 199 countries. The Japanese passport provides hassle-free entry to 193 countries, one more than the second passport on our list.

Singapore and South Korea are tied in second place, with both offering its citizens visa-free or visa-on-demand access to a staggering 192 destinations.

passport  This photo illustration taken on December 19, 2018 shows covers of Japan passports in Tokyo. - Japan is one of around 50 countries in the world that allows only one nationality. (Photo by Behrouz MEHRI / AFP) / TO GO WITH Japan-nationality-politics, FOCUS by Oceane CORNEVIN        (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)
Japan's passport guarantees entry to an eye-watering 193 countries. Photo Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty

The ranking, with three Asian passports at the top, reverses pre-pandemic lists that were dominated by European nations.

However, Asia's more cautious response to COVID probably means those citizens are less likely to currently be making use of that travel freedom than people in Europe or the Americas.

Where is the UK on this list?

A pro-democracy demonstrator holds British National Overseas (BNO) passports during a protest against new national security legislation in Hong Kong, China June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
A UK passport gives hassle free access to 187 countries, beating the US. Photo: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

From here on out it is a glut of European countries. Landing next on the list are Germany and Spain, which both with 190 visa-free destinations, are tied at number three. They are followed by Finland, Italy, Luxembourg on 189.

Then there's Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden all tied in fifth place, while France, Ireland, Portugal and United Kingdom with access to 187 countries, while the US is seventh with a score of 186, the latest ranking shows.

Sharing the seventh spot with the US are New Zealand, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland.

How does my passport compares?

NARITA, JAPAN - APRIL 13: NEC Corporation's
As travel restrictions ease, there are hopeful signs that lower-ranking passports are beginning to recover. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty

If you want to check how your passport compares against other countries, you can give this tool a go.

The Henley Passport Index quarterly ranks all the world’s 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.

Due to the invasion of Ukraine, Russian passport holders are more cut off from the rest of the world than ever before. Moscow issued passports are ranked 50th, giving easy access to just 119 nations.

What is the world's weakest passport?

China placed 69th with access to 80 countries, India’s passport ranked 87th and Afghanistan’s passport is the least useful, getting the holder into only 27 countries.

Turning our eyes to Africa, Seychelles comes in at the top of the African nations with 153 destinations, ranked number 28 globally. Followed by Mauritius with access to 146 destinations, ranked number 33 globally.

South Africa came third with 105 destinations and ranked number 55 globally.

The worst ranked African countries include Somalia at position 107 globally and last in Africa.

“The recovery and reclamation of our travel freedoms, and our innate instinct to move and migrate, will take time,” Henley & Partners Chairman Christian Kaelin said in a statement.

Watch: Travel chaos reaches London’s Heathrow Airport

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