Japan holds the world's most powerful passport for 2019

Japan Has The Most Powerful Passport In The World

Japan Has The Most Powerful Passport In The World

Singapore and South Korea now sit in joint 2nd place, with access to 189 destinations around the globe.

The Henley Passport Index (HPI) is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom for their citizens.

That the top countries in the list are all Asian - along with other significant movers from the region - shows that many Asia nations are "sustaining a high comfort level with mutually beneficial economic migration", Parag Khanna, the founder and managing partner of FutureMap in Singapore, told Henley & Partners.

The data for the rankings is sourced from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which analyses how many countries a passport holder can enter visa-free or with a visa on arrival. Germany and France remain in 3rd place going into 2019, with a visa-free score of 188.

USA and United Kingdom passports both dropped in the rankings dropping from fifth in 2018 to a joint sixth place - which Henley described as a "significant fall" from the first place position these countries held in 2015. This is a significant fall from the first place position that these countries held in 2015.

Fourth place saw Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden have access to 187 countries.

Meanwhile, Ireland was ranked seventh alongside Belgium, Canada and Greece all of which can travel to 184 destinations. Going into 2019, China now sits in 69th place, with access to 74 countries around the world.

The United Arab Emirates also continued to rise in the rankings, holding the top spot in the Middle East at 22nd place, with its citizens able to access 164 countries visa free.

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According to Cummings, over the past year, several African countries - notably Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia and Senegal - relaxed visa requirements, with the intention of enhancing trade, co-operation, and security.

As in 2018, countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs continue to hold strong positions on the index.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, said that despite the rise of strong rhetoric and a move towards isolationism in some parts of the world, most countries open to collaborating with other nations.

In a similar bracket are passports from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.

Syrian and Somalian passports also fair poorly with access to just 32 destinations, as does the Pakistani passport with visa-free travel to 33 countries.

The least powerful passports in the world for 2019 were Iraq and Afghanistan which came in 104th place with access to just 30 countries.

'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 almost doubled to 107'.

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