Singapore back on top of world passport rankings
If you’ve got a Singaporean passport, you can travel to the most countries in the world.
According to the official Henley Passport Index, Singapore has climbed back up to be a joint first place with Japan, which held the most powerful passport title since earlier this year.
The new rankings see Japanese and Singaporean passports granting their holders access to 189 nations either visa-free or with visa-on-arrival.
These nations include visa-free travel to Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan only began developing its tourism infrastructure in 2016 when President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took over from his authoritarian predecessor, Islam Karimov.
Japanese and Singaporean passports allow travelers a 30-day visa-free stay in Uzbekistan along with Isreali, South Korean, Tajikistanian, Turkish, Malaysian, and Indonesian passport holders.
The shift in rankings during 2018 have been consequential in the index’s 13-year history, as it is the first time either Japan or Singapore has had the most powerful in the world.
Previously, Germany held the title since 2013, but they’re now in second place, with visa-free access to only 188 countries.
Maintaining joint third place are South Korea, alongside six EU member states: Sweden, Finland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, and France.
Portugal, the US, the UK, Norway, Austria, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands share fourth place with visa-free access to 186 countries.
Henley & Partners Group Chairman Dr. Christian H. Kälin said that a passport is much more than a simple travel document, “It is a gateway to international opportunities or a barrier to those same opportunities.”
“The Henley Passport Index enables individuals to assess where they lie on the spectrum of global mobility and helps governments understand the relative value and power of the passports they provide,” he added.
Things are also looking up for UAE regarding passport power as the index reveals they have gained access to four new destinations since the start of the year.
All of the new nations added to UAE’s visa-free travel list are in the Americas: Guyana, Canada, Brazil, and Barbados.
This shift cemented the Emirati passport as the strongest in the Middle East and 21st most powerful globally.
However, given its current success and positive trajectory, the Henley Passport Index predicts the Emirati passport will soon be one of the world’s top 20 most powerful passports.
The UAE is also hoping for it to be in the top five by 2021.
It seems Asian nations, on the whole, are improving their international relations using visa rights. China demonstrated this by opening up its Hainan province to 59 countries which struggle to gain access to other parts of the nation.
China also gained visa-free access to Belarus and visa-on-arrival access to Zimbabwe in June, giving its citizens even more choices of vacation destinations.
Other nations such as the British Virgin Islands are falling over themselves to sign visa agreements with China. This is so they can take a slice of 120 million traveling Chinese citizens who spent US$225 billion abroad last year.
The world’s top 20 most powerful passports
- Japan, Singapore (189 countries)
- Germany (188 countries)
- Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, South Korea (187 countries)
- Norway, UK, Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, USA (186 countries)
- Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada (185 countries)
- Australia, Greece (183 countries)
- New Zealand, Czech Republic, Malta (182 countries)
- Iceland (181 countries)
- Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia (180 countries)
- Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania (179 countries)
- Liechtenstein, Estonia (178 countries)
- Poland (175 countries)
- Monaco, Chile (174 countries)
- Cyprus (171 countries)
- Argentina, Brazil (170 countries)
- Croatia, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Romania (169 countries)
- Andorra, San Marino (168 countries)
- Brunei (165 countries)
- Israel (161 countries)
- Barbados (160 countries)
Discover more about your passport here.