Germany has regained its crown as the world’s most powerful passport

Getting There
Getting There

The world’s governments have spoken. Germany’s citizens are the travelers most welcome to cross their borders.

The Henley Passport Index, an annual ranking of passport power by the citizenship planning firm, came out today for 2018. Germany is at the top for the fifth year in a row, with visa-free or visa-upon-arrival access to 177 countries, up from 176 last year. (In February 2017, Belarus introduced a five-day visa-free visit available to citizens of 80 countries, including Germany.)

A separate ranking called Passport Index is published by the global financial advisory company Arton Capital, and is updated in real time. Last October, Passport Index briefly put Singapore at the top of the world’s power passports. According to its count, updated after Paraguay relaxed its visa requirements for Singapore, its citizens could access 159 countries with no application, meaning no visa would be required or a visa could be obtained upon arrival.

In December, Arton’s Passport Index put Germany back on top, consistent with Henley’s ranking.

For the most part, it has been a good year for travelers’ international access. Since last year, most countries have retained the same levels of access or gained some. Seven passports, though, lost visa-free access to one other country: Azerbaijan, New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda, Algeria, Laos, North Korea, and Syria, according to Henley. The Georgian passport gained the most access of any country, with new visa-free access to 32 countries, including those of the Schengen zone.

Here’s Henley’s top 10 for the year 2018:

rank country no. of countries accessible
1 Germany 177
2 Singapore 176
3 Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom 175
4 Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland 174
5 Ireland, Portugal, South Korea, United States 173
6 Canada 172
7 Australia, Greece, New Zealand 171
8 Czech Republic, Iceland 170
9 Malta 169
10 Hungary 168

And here are the countries with the least freedom of movement, according to Henley:

rank country no. of countries accessible
1 Afghanistan 24
2 Iraq 27
3 Syria 28
4 Pakistan 30
5 Somalia 32
6 Yemen 35
7 Libya, Nepal 36
8 Eritrea, Palestinian Territory 37
9 Bangladesh, Iran, Kosovo, Lebanon 38
10 Ethiopia, North Korea, South Sudan 39
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