Japan and Singapore top on Henley Passport Index
This latest ranking of passport power and global mobility which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) marks the culmination of an 18-month long winning streak for both countries, after they unseated Germany from its long-held 1st position at the beginning of 2018.
Falling from the 1st place spot it shared last quarter, South Korea now sits in 2nd place along with Finland and Germany, with citizens able to access 187 destinations without a prior visa.
Finland’s ascent is due to recent changes to Pakistan’s formerly highly restrictive visa policy.
In the hope of attracting tourists and boosting its struggling economy, Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to 50 countries, notably excluding the UK or the US.
With a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 183, the UK and the US now share 6th place – the lowest position either country has held since 2010, and a significant drop from their 1st place spot in 2014.
Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg sit jointly in 3rd place on the index, each with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 186, while France, Spain, and Sweden are in joint 4th place, each with a score of 185.
In significant shifts elsewhere in the rankings, the United Arab Emirates has entered the index’s top 20 for the first time in the index’s 14-year history, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 165.
Over the past five years, the UAE has more than doubled the number of destinations its citizens are able to travel to without a prior visa.
Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the global mobility spectrum, with its citizens able to access only 25 destinations worldwide.
Throughout most of the index’s history, the UK has held one of the top five places in the ranking.
However, with its exit from the EU now imminent, the UK’s once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain.
The Brexit process has not yet had a direct impact on the UK’s ranking, but new research using exclusive historical data from the Henley Passport Index indicates that this could change, with consequences that extend beyond a decline in passport power. ■