When it comes to travel, having a passport gives you a certain amount of power. Passports enable travel, but they also provide economic and educational opportunities, as well as access to better healthcare and living conditions. However, not all passports are equal, and some have more authority than others.
Each quarter, Henley & Partners, a global advisory firm, analyzes the strength of passports from around the world. The researchers at the firm examine 199 different passports to determine the level of access each has to 227 different destinations worldwide. The Henley Passport Index is created from the results.
The firm assesses a passport's strength based on the level of access it provides to various destinations. The International Air Transport Authority provided the data for this analysis (IATA). Passports that do not require or can obtain a visa upon arrival are considered more powerful and are ranked accordingly. Passport holders from certain countries must obtain a visa before visiting a destination, and the more pre-arrival visas required, the less powerful the passport.
Three Asian countries will be at the top of the list of the most powerful passports in 2023. Japan has the highest global mobility score for the fifth year in a row. With 193 visa-free (or visa-on-arrival) destinations, the Japanese passport is the most powerful passport in the world. With 192 destinations, Singapore and South Korea are not far behind. Germany and Spain are third with 190 destinations each. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden round out the top ten.
Japan – 193 destinations
Singapore and South Korea – 192 destinations
Germany and Spain – 190 destinations
Finland, Italy, Luxembourg – 189 destinations
Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden – 188 destinations
France, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom – 187 destinations
Belgium, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United States – 186 destinations
Australia, Canada, Greece, Malta – 185 destinations
Hungary, Poland – 184 destinations
Lithuania, Slovakia – 183 destinations
The least powerful passports in 2023, on the other hand, are from economically and politically challenged countries. Sudan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, and Congo are at the bottom of the list, with 42 visa-free or visa-on-arrival destinations. Libya, Kosovo, Bangladesh, North Korea, Nepal, Palestine, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are also at the bottom.
Henley & Partners has been compiling this index for 18 years, and the ranking for 2023 has the greatest disparity between the highest and lowest-ranking passports ever. This emphasizes the importance of having a strong passport, as it can have a significant impact on your global mobility.
A strong passport can open up a world of opportunities in today's globalized world. It enables you to travel to more destinations without the hassle of applying for visas and may provide access to better living conditions and healthcare. It is becoming increasingly popular for Americans to seek dual citizenship with EU countries in order to obtain more powerful passports.
Finally, the strength of your passport can have a significant impact on your travel opportunities, so it's critical to understand the power your passport possesses. The Henley Passport Index is an excellent resource for determining your passport's global mobility status and can assist you in planning your next adventure.