Latest Update – March 2020
What exactly is the Passport Index? The index lists every passport according to the number of countries for which the passport affords its holder visa-free entry. The more countries you can enter without a prior visa, the stronger your passport.
Everything is explained below in my original post, plus I have included the latest ‘Top 10‘ and ‘Bottom 10‘ rankings for 2020 – great news if you’re holding a Japanese passport, not so great if you’re holding a passport from Afghanistan.
A Measure of Passport Power
The Freedom of Movement Index: In 1984, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, passed a law offering citizenship to individuals who “made a substantial investment in the state” and were of good character and not a threat to the country. Since then, other Caribbean nations such as Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada have introduced their own programs which allow for those willing to pay a substantial fee the opportunity to easily acquire a 2nd passport.
For consulting firms in the residence and citizenship-by-investment industry, there is a need to rank the ‘quality’ or ‘power’ of different passports. One such firm – Henley & Partners – publish the Henley Passport Index (also known as the Freedom of Movement Index), which is an annual ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.
The ranking is based on data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains a comprehensive database of global travel information. The IATA data is augmented by in-house research conducted by Henley & Partners itself.
The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations.
For each travel destination, if no visa is required for passport holders from a country or territory, then a score with value = 1 is created for that passport. A score with value = 1 is also applied if passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) when entering the destination. These visa-types require no pre-departure government approval, because of the specific visa-waiver programs in place.
Where a visa is required, or where a passport holder has to obtain a government-approved electronic visa before departure, a score with value = 0 is assigned. A score with value = 0 is also assigned if passport holders need pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival, a scenario not considered ‘visa-free’.
The total score for each passport is equal to the number of destinations for which no visa is required (value = 1), under the conditions defined above.
The latest index, which was published in January of 2020, can be accessed online or directly here:
‘Top 10’ Rankings – Wonderful for the Japanese!
Currently the strongest passport in the world is that of Japan, which provides visa-free entry into 191 of 227 countries and territories.
‘Bottom 10’ Rankings – Afghanistan Spells Trouble!
The least powerful passport in the world currently belongs to Afghanistan, with Afghan nationals able to enter just 26 of 227 destinations without a visa.
How does your passport measure up?
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Author: Darren McLean
Owner of taste2travel.com – an avid traveler, photographer, travel writer and adventurer.
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