Singapore’s passport dethrones Japan as the world’s most powerful country
If you hold a Singaporean passport, you’re in luck.
The Southeast Asian country’s citizenship document is officially considered the most powerful in the world, according to the latest Henley Passport Index released on Tuesday.
According to the index, Singaporeans can travel to 192 out of 227 destinations worldwide without a visa.
In a “great upheaval,” Singapore beat Japan, which has ranked No. 1 on the index for the past five years.
Japan lagged behind Germany, Italy and Spain, all of which are in second place and boast 190 visa-free travel destinations for their passport holders.
Japan is now tied for third place with six other countries: Austria, France, Finland, Luxembourg, South Korea and Sweden with 189 visa-free destinations.
In comparison, the US was significantly lower in the index, falling one place from last year to eighth place, tied with Lithuania at 184 visa-free destinations.
Both the US and UK have been in a downward trend since 2014 when their passports were ranked #1 in the world.
According to Henley & Partners, over the past decade, the US has increased the number of destinations its citizens can travel to without a visa by 12. However, this represents the smallest increase of any country in the top 10 of the index.
According to Henley & Partners, a London-based global migration advisory group, only eight countries have less access to visas than they did a decade ago.
Greg Lindsay, a global strategist at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute, said America’s drop in passport rankings is an indicator that the US and other Western countries are “falling behind.”
“America’s inexorable slide down the rankings – and the likelihood of regaining the top spot any time soon – is a warning to its neighbor Canada and to the rest of the Anglosphere as well,” Lindsay said in a statement.
In terms of “openness”, the USA also ranks at a low level and only allows 44 other nationalities to enter the country without a visa.
The index revealed that the three weakest passports in the world are Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, which allow you to get to 30, 29 and 27 destinations, respectively.
While many travelers have seen more freedom with visa-free travel over the years, the gap between the top and bottom ranked travelers has also widened.
“The overall trend in the history of 18-year-old rankings is toward greater travel freedom, with the average number of destinations to which travelers can travel without a visa nearly doubling from 58 in 2006 to 109 in 2023,” according to Henley & Partners. “However, the global mobility gap between those at the top and bottom of the index is now wider than ever, with top-performing Singapore able to reach 165 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan.”
The index is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, a large travel information database.