Singapore has Asia’s most powerful passport

Ready to fly.
Ready to fly.
Image: Reuters/Edgar Su
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Singaporeans already have one of the best airports in the world. Now they have one of the best passports, too.

In a recent ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, Singapore placed behind only Germany, joining Sweden in a tie for second place. The city-state beat all other Asian nations, including South Korea, which it overtook this year. Last year Singapore was in fourth place, South Korea in second.

The company behind the annual rankings is Arton Capital, a financial firm that “empowers individuals and families to become global citizens,” at least in part by connecting clients to citizenship-purchasing programs. Its Passport Index factors in the number of countries passport holders can visit without a visa, and the number they can visit by attaining a visa upon arrival.

The rankings include 193 countries and six territories (Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan were among the bottom-dwellers).

Arton isn’t alone in ranking the world’s passports. London-based citizenship and immigration firm Henley & Partners released its 2016 Visa Restrictions Index early last year, also putting Germany atop the list. Singapore joined Japan and Austria in the fifth spot.

A country’s ability to obtain visa waivers reflects its diplomatic relations with other countries. A nation’s visa requirements are shaped by security risks, reciprocal visa arrangements, and the risks of visa and immigration rules violations.