Singapore’s passport no longer most powerful in the world

If it’s not Singapore, then which country has the most powerful passport in the world? Source: Shutterstock.

A PASSPORT is a portal to the world. It can either encourage you to or refrain you from traveling.

Not all passports are the same. Your freedom to travel depends on how powerful your passport is.

Ever year, Henley & Partners releases a ranking of passports to provide travelers an in-depth picture of your passport.

“The index now encompasses almost all of the world’s destinations for which travel information is publicly available. The Henley Passport Index surveys a total of 199 different passports against 227 different travel destinations, including countries, territories, and micro-states,” Henley & Partners Singapore Head of Southeast Asia and Managing Partner Dominic Volek said.

“The index is innovating the way we map and measure travel freedom, making it easier for individuals to understand where exactly they lie on the spectrum of global mobility.”

Your passport will let you roam, but also keep you in check. Source: Shutterstock.

The passport index is based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data, enhanced by extensive in-house research, supported by expert commentary, and updated regularly throughout the year.

It lists which countries you can access with which type of visa, and explains how your passport has changed, how your passport compares to other passports, why your passport has the level of access it does, which additional passports would improve your mobility, so on and so forth.

In March, Henley & Partners announced that Singapore and Japan had knocked long-standing Germany off the top passport perch, making both Singapore and Japan the most powerful passports in the world.

But that has changed.

The busy streets of Shibuya, one of the busiest shopping and financial districts in Japan. Source: Shutterstock.

Japan claimed the top spot as the country now offers its citizens access to a record total of 189 destinations, including Benin.

Singapore has moved down in ranking and is now seated alongside Germany in 2nd place, with visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to 188 countries. That having said, Singapore is still the most powerful Southeast Asian passport.

In 3rd place are six countries: South Korea, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

Meanwhile, United Arab Emirates (UAE) has raced to the top to 23rd place, the fastest overall climber on the index, as the Middle East region looks to boost tourism.

In 2018 alone, the country secure a handful of new visa-waivers, allowing access to eight new countries: China, Ireland, Burkina Faso, Uruguay, Guinea, Tonga, and Honduras.

UAE is now closing in on Israel at 19th place.

China has also significantly strengthened its position on the ranking, having gained access to the UAE, Oman, and Bosnia and Herzegovina this year.

The country climbed from 74th to 68th position since the first quarter of this year, although it’s still quite far off from East Asian top performers Japan and South Korea.

The US and the UK are tied in 4th place, along with Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal. The US has climbed one place compared to the first quarter of 2018 while the UK has remained stable.