The world's most powerful passports – and the least

The world's most powerful passports – and the least

Asian countries lead the way in visa-free travel, while the UAE is overlooked in the Henley passport index

The three most powerful passports in the world are from Asian countries, according to a new quarterly report released by London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners. 

The UAE passport, usually a high scorer, doesn't rank in the top 10 despite its high scores in similar listings.

The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without having to apply for a visa. It's updated in real time, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.

Japanese citizens top the current list, enjoying visa-free or visa-on-demand access to 193 destinations around the world. Japan is closely followed by Singapore and South Korea; citizens from both country's can visit 192 destinations without having to apply for a visa in advance. 


European countries, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand dominated the rest of the top 10 listing, ranked by the number of destinations accessible to each country's citizens.

The countries facing the most restrictions for outbound travel are North Korea (with access to 40 destinations); Nepal and the Palestinian Territory (both with 38 destinations); Somalia (35 destinations); Yemen (34 destinations); Pakistan (32 destinations); Syria (30 destinations); Iraq (29 destinations) and Afghanistan (27 destinations), which once again occupies the last position. 

The best passports to hold in 2023 are:

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 & UK (187 destinations)
7. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, USA & Czech Republic (186 destinations)
8. Australia, Canada, Greece & Malta (185 destinations)
9. Hungary & Poland (184 destinations)
10. Lithuania & Slovakia (183 destinations)

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Henley & Partner's list is just one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.

Arton Capital's Passport Index data is gathered by monitoring individual governments' portals, taking into consideration the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories: ROC Taiwan, Macau (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican. 

In Arton's Global Passport Power Rank 2023, the UAE is in the top spot, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 181.

Second place is held by 11 countries, many of which are seen on the Henley & Partners list. They include Germany, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and South Korea. The United States and the UK are at number three, alongside Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Poland, Ireland and New Zealand.

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