The most powerful passport this year, as the year before, is the Japanese one. With 191 points in the Henley & Partners index, Japan ranks first, followed by Singapore, which is just one point behind. Czechia, together with Australia, Greece, and Malta, shares eighth place with 184 points. Third to seventh are South Korea, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain, and several other European countries. Slovakia ended up in 11th place and the United States in seventh. Countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Nepal close the rankings.
The criterion for awarding points is the number of countries that the holder of a given passport can enter without a visa or would receive a visa on arrival. Amid the world pandemic, however, many countries have been currently further tightening closures and, once released, passengers can be expected to be required to provide evidence of vaccination. The ranking shows that the most valuable passports are in the possession of Asians. Of the countries outside of Asia, Germany is ranked the highest as it is in third place with the same number of points as South Korea. Japanese passport holders can travel without a visa to 191 countries, and in some of them they would receive it upon arrival. The index has been compiled for 16 years, and Asian countries have been only recently ranked as the best. According to experts, this will probably remain the case in the future as some Asian countries are already recovering from the epidemic.
“A year ago, all indications suggested that the movement of people on the planet would be easier, that travel would be easier and that owners of highly regarded passports would have even more opportunities than before,” said Christian Kaelin of Henley & Partners. The author of the book “The Future is Asian”, Parag Khanna believes that people’s mobility will not be restored to the level it was before the pandemic. “Even holders of quality passports — Japanese, South Koreans, Singaporeans, or citizens of the European Union — will be subjected to new requirements that will want to help restore the relatively smooth mobility of people,” he said. Title image: Stacks of passport books are seen at the New Orleans Passport Agency in New Orleans in this July 17, 2007 file photo. First, Americans endured exasperating delays and ruined vacations because of processing backlogs to get their passports. Now, a congressional investigation indicates they may have been overcharged, too – perhaps by more than $100 million each year. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)