Report: Japan, Singapore have 2021’s most powerful passports, the US fails to crack top five

passport list

This year, Japan and Singapore are tied for the world’s most powerful passport, while South Korea and Germany share the second spot, according to a new report. The United States was not included in the top five.

Passport hierarchy: The Henley Passport Index, created by residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, ranks the world’s most travel-friendly passports based on data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

  • Japan and Singapore are at the top of the list as their passport holders can travel to 192 countries without needing a visa.
  • South Korea and Germany are both at a close second with 190 countries while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain are tied in third place with 189 countries.
  • Austria and Denmark both ranked fourth with 188; France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden are in fifth with 187; while Belgium, New Zealand and Switzerland all land at sixth with 186. 
  • The rest of the list had the U.S. and the U.K. tied with the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta and Norway at the seventh spot with 185; Australia and Canada at eighth with 184; Hungary at ninth with 183; and Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia at 10th with 182.
  • The number of visa-free destinations is an estimate as the list doesn’t take into account temporary restrictions, reported CNN

View from down below: The list, which comes at a time when some countries are starting to ease travel restrictions, also highlighted the widening gap between countries with the most powerful passports against those with the least. 

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  • According to the Q4 Global Mobility report, people from countries at the bottom of the list cannot enter most of those at the top, even if they are fully vaccinated.
  • Passport holders from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, which have the least powerful passports, can only access less than 30 countries without a visa.
  • The report suggested that “restrictive policies initially introduced to contain the spread of COVID-19 are now being conveniently applied to contain mobility from the global south.”
  • Henley & Partners chair Christian H. Kaelin, who created the passport index concept, warned that if we hope to “restart the global economy, it is critical that developed nations encourage inward migration flows, as opposed to persisting with outmoded restrictions.”
  • He further advised countries to welcome upcoming generations to “future proof their economies.”

While the U.S. or a European country have held the top spot for most of the index’s 14-year history, Japan and Singapore have both captured and retained the list’s top positions since 2018, as NextShark previously reported.

Featured Image via jacqueline macou

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