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Henley Passport Index: It’s the age of Asia

Christian Fernsby |
As the global economy transforms and centers of power shift, Asia’s dominance appears to be unfaltering.

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Topics: PASSPORT    ASIA   

Entering into the final quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore retain a firm hold on first place on the Henley Passport Index, each with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 190 out of a maximum 227.

For most of the index’s 14-year history which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) the top spot has been held by a European country or by the US.

However, this shifted dramatically in 2018, with Asian countries now firmly established as world leaders when it comes to both global economic activity and global mobility.

With visa-free/visa-on-arrival scores of 188, Finland, Germany, and South Korea remain in 2nd place, while Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg are in 3rd place, with citizens of those countries now able to access 187 destinations worldwide without requiring a visa in advance.

With a score of 184, the UK and the US remain in joint 6th place – the lowest position either country has held since 2010 and a significant drop from their 1st-place ranking in 2014.

While the positions on the index’s top 10 have remained relatively stable since the last update in July, there have been some striking shifts further down the ranking.

Most dramatically, the UAE has climbed an extraordinary five places over the last three months after gaining visa-free access to a number of African countries, including South Africa, and now sits in 15th place, with UAE passport holders able to access 172 destinations without a prior visa.

Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan remain at the bottom of the ranking, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival scores of just 29, 27, and 25, respectively.

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