Japan passport most powerful in 2021: Know where your country ranks

While international travel is still restricted in a bid to control the pandemic, the index of the world’s most powerful passports has been released. The Henley Passport Index has been creating the list of most and least powerful passport rankings through regular monitoring of the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006.

The index does not take temporary restrictions into account, so the rankings will not be beneficial for tourists at present as one-third of all countries have banned international visitors.

Most powerful passports

Japan has topped the rankings with its passport presenting visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 193 destinations across the world. Singapore acquired second place with 192 and South Korea tied with Germany at third place with 191 destinations. China and the United Arab Emirates have made big strides toward travel freedom, climbing from 90th rank to 68th, and 65th position to 15th, respectively.

Most of the top 10 ranks are held by EU countries, whereas the UK and the US have dropped down to seventh place, alongside Switzerland, Belgium and New Zealand. Australia was ranked ninth beside Canada, with access to 185 countries visa-free. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden Czech Republic, Greece, Malta and Norway are among the other most powerful passport holders.

Least powerful passports

Compared to Japan, the citizens of Afghanistan can only visit 26 destinations without needing a visa in advance, which puts the country at the bottom of the rankings. The gap between Japan and Afghanistan’s access to destinations is 167, which is the biggest gap observed since the index began. Afghanistan is preceded by Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and North Korea.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners and creator of the passport index, stated that “the latest ranking is a reminder that economic recovery and development are dependent on global mobility, including personal travel freedom, and that passport power should never be taken for granted.”