The world’s most powerful passports belong to two Asian countries

Image: EPA-EFE/Wallace Woon
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Asian countries are increasingly challenging their European peers in terms of passport power.

As of early 2018, Germany has for five years in a row been ranked as having the world’s most powerful passport. However, the country just ceded that title to Japan and Singapore, according to a real-time ranking compiled by citizenship-planning firm Henley & Partners released yesterday (Feb.28).

Citizens of Japan and Singapore now have easy access to 180 countries, compared to Germany’s 179. Among the countries that have made it easier for citizens of Japan and Singapore to travel there is Uzbekistan, which recently relaxed its visa requirements to give citizens of seven countries visa-free travel for up to 30 days.

Henley & Partners calculates the accessibility of passports based on the passport’s ability to travel visa-free to other countries, or apply for a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA).

Here’s the list of the most powerful passports ranked by Henley & Partners, at time of writing:

A similar index, compiled by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital, ranks both Singapore and South Korea first, followed by Germany and Japan.