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Wednesday,  April 17, 2024 5:16 PM 

The world's most (and least) powerful passports. How Canada ranks

  • Buzz
  •   07-18-2023  10:13 am
  •   Pax Global Media

The world's most (and least) powerful passports. How Canada ranks
Pax Global Media

The latest from the Henley Passport Index is out, and Japan has been knocked off the top spot for the first time in five years, falling into third place.

The latest ranking, released Tuesday (July 18), is based on exclusive and official data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Singapore is now officially the most powerful passport in the world, with its citizens able to visit 192 destinations out of 227 around the world visa-free, the report says.

Germany, Italy, and Spain all move up into second place with visa-free access to 190 destinations, and Japanese passport holders join those of six other nations — Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden — in third place with access to 189 destinations without a prior visa.

The United Kingdom has turned the corner after a six-year decline, jumping up two places on the latest ranking to fourth place — a position it last held in 2017.

The United States, meanwhile, continues its now decade-long slide down the index, plummeting a further two places to the eighth spot with access to just 184 destinations visa-free.

Both the U.K. and the U.S. jointly held first place on the index nearly 10 years ago in 2014, but have been on a downward trajectory ever since, the ranking shows.

Afghanistan remains entrenched at the bottom of the Henley Passport Index, with a visa-free access score of just 27, followed by Iraq (score of 29), and Syria (score of 30) — the three weakest passports in the world.

Canada is now in seventh place on the list, tied with Greece, with visa-free access to 185 destinations. (Earlier this year, Canada took the eighth spot, but maintained a score of 185)

Greater travel freedom

The general trend over the history of the 18-year-old ranking has been towards greater travel freedom, with the average number of destinations travellers are able to access visa-free nearly doubling from 58 in 2006 to 109 in 2023.

However, the global mobility gap between those at the top and bottom of the index is now wider than it has ever been, with top-ranked Singapore able to access 165 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan.

In a press release, Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners, said only eight countries worldwide have less visa-free access today than they did a decade ago, while others have been more successful in securing greater travel freedom for their citizens.

“The UAE has added an impressive 107 destinations to its visa-free score since 2013, resulting in a massive leap of 44 places in the ranking over the past 10 years from 56th to 12th position,” Dr. Kaelin said.

“Of the countries sitting in the Top 10, the U.S. has seen the smallest increase in its score, securing just 12 additional destinations. Singapore, by comparison, has increased its score by 25, pushing it up five places over the past 10 years to number one.”

Singapore and South Korea, high climbers on the Henley Passport Index Top 10 over last decade, boast relatively high degrees of openness compared to the five countries with the biggest disparity between the travel freedom they enjoy, versus the visa-free access they provide to other nationalities.

The U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have all either slid down the ranking or remained in the same place as their openness stagnates, the ranking says. 

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