World’s Most Powerful Passport: UK Passport Climbing Two Places Since 2017

World’s Most Powerful Passport: UK Passport Climbing Two Places Since 2017

The latest quarterly Henley Passport Index from Henley & Partners has been released and the United Kingdom (UK) has moved up in the list.

The global passport ranking is based on the number of destinations passport holders can access without a visa according to the data from International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Countries score one point for every destination they can visit visa-free. This applies if citizens can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor's permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering the destination.

No points are awarded for destinations where a visa is required or the passport holder has to obtain a government-approved e-visa before departure. 

More than just a travel document, Henley and Partners said a strong passport provides significant financial freedom when it comes to international investments and business opportunities. 

“Global connectivity and access have become indispensable features of wealth creation and preservation, and its value will only grow as geopolitical volatility and regional instability increase.”

Henley Passport Index

The list is updated quarterly.

Top 10 Countries With The Most Powerful Passports

For the first time in five years, Japan has lost the top rank for the world's most powerful passport.

Japan kept the top place at the start of 2023, with visa-free access to 193 nations. This number has since fallen to 189, with Singapore in first place with access to 192 countries out of 227 visa-free.

The UK, after sliding down the rankings over the previous six years, has jumped up two places to fourth place, a position it last held in 2017. British nationals along with those from Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands can visit 188 countries visa-free. 

The United States continues its now decade-long decline, slipping a further two places to eighth, with access to 184 countries visa-free. 

The UK and the US jointly held first place on the index in 2014, but have been on a broadly downward trajectory ever since. 

The top 10 is rounded out by:

1. Singapore

2. Germany, Italy, and Spain

3. Japan, Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden

4. Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom

5. Belgium, Czechia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, and Switzerland

6. Australia, Hungary, and Poland

7. Canada and Greece

8. Lithuania and the United States of America

9. Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia

10. Estonia and Iceland

Who Has Gained The Most

Over the years, the Passport Index shows that travel freedom is generally getting stronger.

Only eight countries worldwide have less visa-free access today than they did a decade ago. 

Since 2013, the UAE has gained visa-free access to an additional 107 destinations over the past decade, boosting it from 56th to 12th place in the rankings.

Colombia is the next biggest climber, jumping from 65th to 37th place.

Ukraine and China are both among the 10 most improved rankings over the past 10 years.

However, the gap between the most and least powerful passports is widening. The four countries at the bottom of the list do not permit visa-free access for any passport. These include Afghanistan, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, and Turkmenistan.

Does your passport make the top ten list? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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