Top 10 Passport Rankings: World’s Most Powerful Passport
A passport can be your gateway to other countries or be a hindrance to the holder. This pocket-size booklet is not just for travel identification purposes but can also be a source of pride. Passports allow more freedom and unrestricted access to other countries which not all travellers have a choice.
In our new world order, dictated by coronavirus, the world’s passports have taken a rollercoaster ride in rankings. How countries managed their response to the coronavirus pandemic affected their passport rankings. But who are the biggest losers and the biggest gainers? You’ll never guess how many visa-free countries you need to lose to retain a top ranking. You may be surprised which continent dominates the list in times of the coronavirus.
It is a bittersweet moment for holders of New Zealand passport as it takes the top spot in the world’s power rankings. The black book of New Zealand has been trending upwards in the index tables for years and finally knocked Japan from a joint top position top become the most powerful passport in the world.
The New Zealand passport is now the most valuable travel document in the world according to a recent ranking by the Passport Index. This top positioning comes amid general travel chaos, as the coronavirus pandemic closes borders around the world.
New Zealanders find themselves in possession of the world’s most powerful and desirable passport at a time when the data is showing a dramatic decrease in mobility and travel.
The Passport Index, which compares the access granted by the passports of 193 United Nations member countries, deemed the New Zealand passport to be the world’s “most powerful”. But what does this label mean during a global pandemic?
The Coronavirus pandemic which has caused a radical change in visa-free travel has also meant that New Zealand has visa-free access to fewer countries than before. Although Kiwi passport holders have not been affected as badly by travel restrictions, unlike other nationalities.
Following Australia’s extending of quarantine free travel to New Zealand passport holders – there are now 129 countries offering visa-free access. This is up 80 countries from the height of the pandemic crisis six months ago. However, it represents a decrease of 40 places offering restriction-free travel to New Zealanders in 2019.
Japan stumbles to the second place, along with joint entries Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea and Australia.
European countries make up the bulk of the top 10 list, as most retain access to the Schengen ‘free movement’ zone with few travel restrictions between borders.
A remarkable absence from the top 10 is the United States, which fell to a low of 21st place in the passport rankings.
While it has regained some footing since July, the freedom once enjoyed by US passport holders have been badly affected by the impact of coronavirus in the country.
In July the US passport dropped to an all-time low of 28th in the rankings below Mexico and Uruguay. Perhaps no passport has fallen from grace so quickly as the American travel document.
It was pointed out at the time by the index’s compilers that the US travel document provided roughly equivalent access to many of the countries the current Whitehouse administration had sought to block from its borders.
Passport Power Rankings
- New Zealand; 129
- Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea, Japan, Australia; 128
- Sweden, Belgium, France, Finland, Italy, Spain; 127
- Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Lithuania, Norway, Iceland, UK, Canada; 126
- Malta, Slovenia, Latvia; 125
- Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Liechtenstein; 124
- Slovakia; 123
- Cyprus, Croatia, Monaco; 121
- Romania, Bulgaria; 120
- San Marino, Andorra, Uruguay; 115
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