These are the most powerful passports in the world for 2020

Jan 11, 2020
The Henley Passport Index has been released with Japan ranked as the most powerful passport of 2020. Source: Getty

The latest passport rankings have been revealed, with Asian countries dominating the list once again as their documents provide residents with easy access to more places across the world.

Each year, the Henley Passport Index ranks passports based on the countries its holders can enter without prior visa approval. And for 2020 Japan has been named number one, for the third year in a row.

Holders of Japanese passports can enter 191 countries either without a visa or with the purchase of a visa on arrival. Japan was followed closely by Singapore in second position, with 190 countries, while South Korea and Germany came equal third with 189.

Rounding off the top five were Italy and Finland in joint fourth position, with 188 countries, followed by Spain, Luxembourg and Denmark, which tied in fifth spot with 187.

Although Australia didn’t make it into the top five, the Land Down Under did boost its ranking by one spot to equal ninth. Aussies are now able to enter 183 countries without a visa – an increase of two over the past year. Both Brazil and Sri Lanka chose to scrap visas for Australians in 2019.

Australia shared its ranking with New Zealand, Canada, the Czech Republic and Malta. Meanwhile, the worst countries on the list included Syria, with visa access to just 29 countries, Iraq, with 28 and in last spot, Afghanistan with 26.

Dr Christian H. Kaelin, who invented the passport index concept, said the results provided a fascinating insight into the rapidly changing world.

“Asian countries’ dominance of the top spots is a clear argument for the benefits of open-door policies and the introduction of mutually beneficial trade agreements,” he said. “Over the past few years, we have seen the world adapt to mobility as a permanent condition of global life.

“The latest rankings show that the countries that embrace this reality are thriving, with their citizens enjoying ever-increasing passport power and the array of benefits that come with it.”

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have both continued their steady decline down the rankings since 2015.  The countries dropped two spots, from sixth place to eighth place

On the other hand, Middle Eastern countries have made strong gains over the past year, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia both moving up four places. The UAE now sits in 18th place, with a score of 171, while Saudi Arabia is in 66th place, with a score of 77.

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