Japan has the world's 'strongest' passport, according to this index

11 October, 2018, 03:17 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Japan has the strongest passport in the world according to new Henley & Partners ranking

The statistics of the Henley Passport Index are based on data released by the Canadian-based International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Thanks to gaining visa-free access to Myanmar this month, Japan has toppled Singapore to claim the top spot for holding the world's most powerful passport.

British consultant Henley & Partners published the latest version of its Henley Passport Index, which lists passports according to the number of countries the holder can visit without having to apply for a visa. Trailing not too far behind is another Asian country, Singapore, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 destinations. Spot three, for instance, is shared by France, Germany and South Korea, all with 188 visa-free destinations. With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, it seems increasingly unlikely that the U.S. and the United Kingdom will regain the number 1 spot they jointly held in 2015. The index is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect.

Since being ranked in 62nd place in 2006, the country has made the fastest leaps on the list, rising to the 21st spot in 2018.

The rest of the 10 strongest passports include countries in Europe, plus Malaysia.


The ranking determines how many countries the holder can enter either without a visa or be issued one upon entry. "This is still an impressive 14-place improvement over the position that China held at the start of 2017", noted the site.

What has been most remarkable in recent years is the UAE's stunning ascent on the Henley Passport Index, from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place worldwide now. Thailand ended up at No.68 and China at No.71, with at the bottom Afghanistan and Iraq, with only 30 visa waivers each, the Liberty Times reported. Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI programme in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008.

For South Africans, that number is a steady 102, while other countries have been improving the freedom of movement of their citizens with bilateral agreements.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says countries with citizenship-by-investment programs all fall within the top 50 of the index.

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