Three most powerful passports

Three Asian nations share the podium for this year’s most powerful passport awards.

Each year, the Henley Passport Index releases global rankings of the world’s most powerful passports, revealing which countries have the most visa-free access. With historical data spanning 14 years, the index is clearly the world standard when it comes to ranking passports.

This year, each with access to 189 countries across the globe without a prior visa, the three most powerful passports in the world are Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

“With all Asian countries topping the index, there is a clear momentum behind the region taking centre stage in globalisation,” said Dr Parag Khanna, author of The Future Is Asian: Global Order in the Twenty-first Century.

“The steady rise of China through its visa-waiver agreements shows how incremental and reciprocal measures can lead to significant progress in trust and recognition.”

Germany is in second place with a score of 188, and Denmark, Finland, France, Italy and Sweden all share third place on the index with a score of 187.

The UK sits in fifth place with a score of 185, while the US is in sixth with a score of 184.

Australians have the ninth most powerful passport in the world, with access to 181 countries – sharing this spot with New Zealand and Iceland.

Iraq and Afghanistan have the least powerful passports, ranking 104th on the index, with only 30 destinations accessible visa-free or with a visa on arrival.

Dr Christian H. Kalin, group chairman of Henley & Partners says the index reveals a desire for countries to be accessible, despite growing isolationist tendencies.

“Historical data from the Henley Passport Index over the past 14 years shows an overwhelming global tendency towards visa openness,” said Dr Kalin.

“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 nearly doubled to 107.”

The top 10 most powerful passports

  1. Japan, Singapore, South Korea
  2. Germany
  3. France, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden
  4. Luxembourg, Spain
  5. Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, United Kingdom
  6. United States, Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland
  7. Czechia
  8. Malta
  9. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand
  10. Slovakia, Slovenia

How many passports do you have? Which is your most powerful?

Related articles:
Dual passport conundrum
Caught out by passport crackdown
How to keep your passport safe

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


What is the best way to travel with a dual passport?

Lee is travelling to the USA with a dual passport and wants to know the best approach.

Aussie travellers caught out by passport crackdown

Aussie travellers have been warned to carry pristine passports.

Travel SOS: How to keep your passport safe

Mel wants to know how to keep her passport safe when she's in China.