Japan, Singapore and South Korea lead world’s passport power

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Japan, Singapore and South Korea have confirmed Asia’s leadership in the world’s passport power, topping the latest list compiled by the Swiss consulting company Henley & Partners.

According to the Henley Passport Index at the beginning of the third quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore held the top spot as their citizens can visit 189 countries without prior visas. They are followed by South Korea, Finland and Germany whose citizens can visit 187 countries visa-free or with visa-on-arrival. Malaysia is the next Asian country, ranking 13th with a score of 176. Hong Kong is 19th with 168 and the United Arab Emirates, the top Middle Eastern country, is 20th with 167.

However, Asian countries are also at the bottom of the list. Afghanistan is last with a passport power score of only 25 countries, preceded by Iraq with 27, Syria with 29 and Pakistan with 30, according to the Henley Passport Index. The United Arab Emirates was the biggest climber over the last ten years, moving up 41 places, from 61 on the list in 2009 to 20 in 2019. The UAE is followed by Albania (from 76 to 52), Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) from 54 60 30, Bosnia and Herzegovina (from 72 to 51) Serbia (from 62 to 41) Timor-Leste (from 75 to 56) and Colombia (from 64 to 45). At the other end of the spectrum, Nigeria lost 31 places, moving down the list from 67 in 2009 to 98 in 2019. It was followed by Sierra Leone (from 53 to 82), Bangladesh (from 73 to 101), Syria (from 82 to 107), Mali (from 65 to 90), Niger (from 65 to 90) and Senegal (from 64 to 89).

Henley Passport Index ranks all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The index includes 199 passports and 227 travel destinations, including micro-states and territories. The company said on its website that for each travel destination, if no visa is required for passport holders, a score of 1 is created for that passport. This also applies if passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) upon entry. These visa types require no pre-departure government approval.

Where a visa is required, or where a passport holder must obtain a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) before departure, a score of 0 is assigned. The same applies if they need pre-departure approval for a visa on arrival. Each passport is scored on the total number of destinations that the holder can access visa-free. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information and enhanced by continuous research by the Henley & Partners Research Department, the company said.

Henley Passport Index (July 2019):

 1 Japan, Singapore 189

2 Finland, Germany, South Korea 187

3 Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg 186

4 France, Spain, Sweden 185

5 Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland 184

6 Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States 183

7 Malta 182

8 Czech Republic 181

9 Australia, Iceland, Lithuania, New Zealand 180

10 Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia 179

11 Estonia, Hungary 178

12 Liechtenstein 177

13 Malaysia 176

14 Chile 174

15 Monaco 173

16 Cyprus, Poland 172

17 Argentina 170

18 Brazil, Romania 169

19 Bulgaria, Hong Kong (SAR China) 168

20 Croatia, San Marino, United Arab Emirates 167

21 Andorra 166

22 Brunei 164

23 Barbados, Israel 158

24 Mexico 157

25 Bahamas, Uruguay 153

26 St. Kitts and Nevis 152

27 Costa Rica, Seychelles 150

28 Vatican City 148

29 Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago 147

30 Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) 146

31 Mauritius 145

32 St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 144

33 Paraguay 143

34 Grenada 141

35 Panama 140

36 Macao (SAR China) 139

37 Dominica, El Salvador, Honduras 135

38 Venezuela 134

39 Guatemala 133

40 Peru 132

41 Serbia 131

42 Samoa 130

43 Solomon Islands, Vanuatu 129

44 Nicaragua, Tuvalu, Ukraine 126

45 Colombia 124

46 North Macedonia, Tonga 123

47 Marshall Islands, Montenegro 122

48 Kiribati 121

49 Micronesia, Moldova 119

50 Palau Islands 118

51 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russian Federation 116

52 Albania, Georgia 113

53 Turkey 110

54 South Africa 99

55 Belize 98

56 Timor-Leste 94

57 Kuwait 91

58 Ecuador 90

59 Fiji 87

60 Guyana, Qatar 86

61 Nauru 85

62 Maldives 84

63 Jamaica 83

64 Botswana, Papua New Guinea 82

65 Bahrain 80

66 Suriname 78

67 Bolivia, Oman 77

68 Namibia 76

69 Belarus, Kazakhstan 75

70 Thailand 74

71 Lesotho 73

72 eSwatini, Saudi Arabia 72

73 Malawi 71

74 China Kenya 70

75 Indonesia, Zambia 69

76 Gambia, Tanzania 68

77 Tunisia 67

78 Azerbaijan 66

79 Cape Verde Islands, Uganda 65

80 Ghana, Philippines, Zimbabwe 64

81 Cuba, Dominican Republic 63

82 Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Sierra Leone 62

83 Benin, Morocco 61

84 Armenia 60

85 Mozambique 59

86 India, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe 58

87 Burkina Faso, Tajikistan 57

88 Cote d’Ivoire, Uzbekistan 56

89 Gabon, Guinea, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo 55

90 Mali, Niger 54

91 Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar 53

92 Bhutan, Chad, Comoros Islands 52

93 Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Turkmenistan 51

94 Algeria, Central African Republic 50

95 Angola, Egypt, Haiti, Jordan, Laos, Vietnam 49

96 Burundi, Cameroon, Congo (Rep.), Liberia 47

97 Myanmar 46

98 Djibouti, Nigeria 45

99 Congo (Dem. Rep.), Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka 42

100 Kosovo 41

101 Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea 39

102 Nepal 38

103 Libya, Palestinian Territory, Sudan 37

104 Yemen 33

105 Somalia 31

106 Pakistan 30

107 Syria 29

108 Iraq 27

109 Afghanistan 25

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