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Henley Passport Index: World’s Most Powerful Passports In 2023

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(CTN NEWS) – According to the 2023 Henley Passport Index, Asia has the three strongest passports in the world. It lists every passport in the world in order of how many places its owners can travel to without getting a visa first.

For the fifth consecutive year, Japan has had the most powerful passport in the world. Holders are eligible for visa-free travel to 193 of the world’s 227 countries.

The visa-free/visa-on-arrival index places South Korea and Singapore in a tie for second place with a score of 192. Spain and Germany both rank third with visa-free travel to 190 countries.

With respective scores of 187 and 186, the US and the UK are still in sixth and seventh place.

They shared first place in 2014, but according to the Henley rankings, neither one is expected to finish first ever again. In 2016, the UK decided to exit the European Union.

Economic Opportunity Passport

Henley & Partners, an immigration consulting firm, created the Henley Passport Index.

The Henley Passport Power score, which represents “the percentage of global GDP each passport gives to its holders’ visa-free,” was likewise developed by combining its passport index data with World Bank GDP estimates.

This can be a useful tool for business travelers, investors, and anyone considering emigration. Yet, it also highlights “the rising economic inequality and wealth disparity that has come to define our society,” according to Dr. Christian Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners.

Based on information from the International Air Transport Association, he created the passport index about 20 years ago.

For instance, 46 countries (or 20% of the world) are visa-free for holders of Nigerian passports, although the GDP of these nations is only 1.5% of the worldwide average.

The Afghan passport has the lowest Henley Passport Power score ranking, granting visa-free travel to 27 nations and less than 1% of the world’s GDP.

The largest mobility difference in the index’s 18-year history is 166 fewer visa-free countries than Japan.

According to the research, residents in the index’s lowest-ranking nations, such as Iraq (visa-free score of 29) and Syria (visa-free score of 30, are excluded from many chances for economic growth and mobility.

World's Most Powerful Passports: Three Asian Countries at Top Positions, Find Out India's Rank | In GFX

Countries holding the bottom 10 spots on the Henley Index includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan. (News18 graphics)

World’s Most Powerful Passports In 2023

  1. Japan (193 destinations)
  2. Singapore, South Korea (192 destinations)
  3. Germany, Spain (190 destinations)
  4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg (189 destinations)
  5. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden (188 destinations)
  6. France, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom (187 destinations)
  7. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United States (186 destinations)
  8. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185 destinations)
  9. Hungary (183 destinations)
  10. Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia (182 destinations)
These are the most powerful passports in the world according to Henley Passport Index.

These are the most powerful passports in the world according to Henley Passport Index. Image: Henley & Partners

Passports From Russia And Ukraine

The Henley Passport Index scores of Russia and Ukraine have not yet been significantly affected by the Ukraine War.

Both nations had the same stance when the invasion started in February 2022. Ukraine is ranked 36th with visa-free travel to 144 countries, whereas Russia is ranked 49th with a score of 118.

But, due to airspace restrictions and sanctions, Russian nationals cannot travel to most of the industrialized world.

On the other hand, as part of an emergency response to the war, Ukrainians have been able to reside and work in the EU for up to three years.

In the last ten years, Ukraine has advanced 24 places on the Henley Passport Index, making it one of the largest climbers. According to the survey, if the nation joins the EU, it would likely rank among the top 10.

The United Arab Emirates now sits in joint 15th place in the list of the most powerful passports in the world, with access to 70% of global GDP.

The United Arab Emirates now sits in joint 15th place in the list of the most powerful passports in the world, with access to 70% of global GDP. Image: Henley & Partners

High-Ranking Nations In The Index Expand More Quickly

The nations with the most open economies, which promote foreign investment and commerce, have the highest scores on the index. Kaelin says they “tend to grow more quickly, are more inventive and creative, and give their residents more incomes and more chances.”

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has climbed the index by 49 spots in the last 10 years to land in 15th place with access to 70% of the world’s GDP, serves as an illustration of this.

The opposite, however, is true for nations that are ranked worse.

There are developing countries with sizable and expanding private wealth that have not yet established the geopolitical, diplomatic, and trade ties necessary for their governments to sign agreements allowing for visa-free travel with other states.

The world’s two largest economies, the US and China, contribute 25% and 19% of the global GDP; however, American citizens have visa-free access to 43% of the worldwide GDP, compared to 7% for Chinese citizens.

According to Kaelin, the passports we possess control a significant portion of our chances, the freedoms we have, and the caliber of options within our grasp.

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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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