Japan overtakes Singapore as world's most powerful passport

Taiwan's passport No.29 in the world according to Henley & Partners

Taiwan's passport No.29 in the world according to Henley & Partners

According to its website, Henley Passport Index ranks all passports in the world based on the number of countries its holders can visit visa-free.

The Japanese passport is now the most powerful in the world, after it overtook Singapore in Henley Passport Index's fourth-quarter update, released on Wednesday (Oct 10).

Germany, another country to hold the top spot in previous years, is now in third place alongside South Korea and France.

Criteria on the list include which countries you can access with which type of visa, how your passport has changed over the past 13 years, how it compares to other such passports, why it has the level of access that it does and which additional passports would improve your global movements.

The US and the United Kingdom, both with 186 destinations, slid from 4th to 5th place, with neither having gained access to new jurisdictions since the start of 2018.

However, South Africa still ranks 3rd in Africa, after the Seychelles (25th strongest passport in the world, with 152 destinations) and Mauritius (31st strongest passport in the world, with 146 destinations).

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Previously, both Singapore and Japan had access to 189 countries and shared top place. France moved up a place last Friday when it gained visa-free access to Uzbekistan.

Russia received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver for Russian nationals, placing it at No. 47.

The ranking determines how many countries the holder can enter either without a visa or be issued one upon entry. This is still an impressive 14-place improvement over the position that China held at the start of 2017.

"Mauritius and the Seychelles both have very welcoming visa policies, and as a result of this openness, other countries reciprocate and make travel easier for Seychellois and Mauritian citizens".

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says countries with citizenship-by-investment programs all fall within the top 50 of the index. Newcomer Moldova, for example, which launched its CBI program in the second half of this year, has climbed 20 places since 2008.

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