Japan has world’s most powerful passport in post-pandemic world

Helen Coffey
·2 min read

Watch: New passport rankings revealed

Japan has the world’s most powerful passport, the latest rankings have revealed.

As vaccine rollouts increase the likelihood of international travel resuming, the Henley Passport Index specifically looked at travel in a post-pandemic world, comparing the number of destinations passport holders of different nationalities can access visa-free.

“Without taking temporary and constantly evolving Covid-19 travel restrictions into account”, Japan was found to offer passport holders theoretical access to a record 193 destinations around the world without needing a visa (or able to obtain one on arrival).

Singapore held onto second place, with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 192, while Germany and South Korea again shared joint third place, each with a score of 191.

The UK and US, both of which continue to drop further down the rankings since they jointly held the top spot in 2014, currently share joint-seventh place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 187.

Although there has been little movement in the rankings over the last year during the pandemic, much has changed during the past decade.

Japan held onto the number one spot (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Japan held onto the number one spot (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

China has risen by 22 places since 2011, going from 90th position with a score of just 40 to 68th position with a score of 77. 

Meanwhile, the UAE has climbed a whopping 50 places in the last 10 years, from 65th (with a score of 67), to 15th (with a score of 174).

The “travel freedom gap” is now at its widest since the index began in 2006, according to the latest results: Japanese passport holders can access 141 more destinations visa-free than those with Afghanistan passports, who can visit only 26 destinations worldwide without acquiring a visa in advance.

The Henley Passport Index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (Iata), alongside ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.

Top 10 most powerful passports

1. Japan (193)

2. Singapore (192)

3. South Korea (191)

3. Germany (191)

4. Italy (190)

4. Finland (190)

4. Spain (190)

4. Luxembourg (190)

5. Denmark (189)

5. Austria (189)

6. Sweden (188)

6. France (188)

6. Portugal (188) 

6. Netherlands (188)

6. Ireland (188)

7. Switzerland (187)

7. United States (187)

7. United Kingdom (187)

7. Belgium (187)

7. New Zealand (187)

8. Norway (186)

8. Greece (186)

8. Malta (186)

8. Czech Republic (186)

9. Canada (185)

9. Australia (185)

10. Slovakia (183)

10. Lithuania (183)

10. Hungary (183)

10. Poland (183)

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