What if we told you that your passport, although an indispensable document in all parts of the world, does not have the same value depending on the country that issued it? This is indeed the purpose of the Henley & Partners studies, which establishes a quarterly ranking of the most “powerful” passports. What does the power of a passport mean? How is it rated? What is the current ranking? This article will help you understand the questions you may have about your international passbooks.
The power of passports
The passport is an identity document issued by a State allowing a citizen to travel abroad. Your passport will be required to leave Luxembourg (outside the EU), but it will not be sufficient to allow you to travel everywhere; this actually depends on the legislation related to this effect. For this reason, each passport grants its holder a number of accessible countries which differs according to the country of origin, in this way a passport is granted a value, a power.
Evaluation of the power of a passport
By comparing data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it is possible to identify the passports that allow access to the largest number of countries. The method of calculation is simple, if a visa is required for a citizen to be able to cross a border, no points are awarded to the passport in question, only access without a visa can earn a point. Thus, hundreds of passports are evaluated by comparing their access to hundreds of other countries, and those with the most points are considered the most powerful passports, those that allow access to the largest number of foreign destinations.
The ranking of the most powerful passports in 2023
It is on this basis that the consulting firm Henley & Partners provides each quarter the “Henley Passport Index“, a worldwide ranking of the most powerful passports.
The 2023 ranking
1. Japan (193 destinations)
2. Singapore and South Korea (192)
3. Germany and Spain (190)
4. Finland, Italy and Luxembourg (189)
5. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden (188)
6. France, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom (187)
7. Belgium, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, USA (186)
8. Australia, Canada, Greece, Malta (185)
9. Hungary, Poland (184)
10. Lithuania, Slovakia (183)
102. North Korea (40 destinations)
103. Nepal and Occupied Palestinian Territories (38)
104. Somalia (35)
105. Yemen (34)
106. Pakistan (32)
107. Syria (30)
108. Iraq (29)
109. Afghanistan (27)
Asian countries in the lead
Looking at the ranking, it is immediately apparent that the most developed countries in Asia come out on top, with 193 destinations accessible without a visa for Japan and 192 for Singapore and South Korea. They are the only ones to be in the lead since the next Asian country is Malaysia in 13th position with 179 destinations. The United Arab Emirates is in the 15th position.
We have devoted an article to expatriation in the United Arab Emirates, check it out!
Europe is the highest rated continent
Placed just after these 3 Asian countries, Europe has 23 of its 51 countries reach the top 10 (if we rank several countries equally), which makes it the continent with the most possible expatriations without a visa. Germany and Spain have the most with 190 destinations respectively, followed closely by Luxembourg with 189.
On a more global scale, the most industrialized countries, and in particular the Western countries if we add the United States, Canada or even Australia to the list of European countries, are the countries that are at the top of the ranking of the most powerful passports.
On the other hand, the less developed countries of the South, in particular the countries of the Middle East, are those that issue the least powerful passports. For example, the Afghan passport only allows access to 27 countries in the world without a visa.
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