Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

There's a new number one in 'world's most powerful' passport poll

Japan has the strongest passport in the world according to new Henley & Partners ranking Move over, Singapore – Japanese passport opens the most doors now
Steven Clarke | 10 October, 2018, 15:58

We aren't in the top 10, or even the top 50.

Japan has overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, having gained visa-free access to Myanmar this month.

For Japanese citizens, flying to virtually anywhere hassle free isn't just a dream - it's a reality.

The 2018 Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.

On the global stage, Japan is the current passport champion, with Japanese citizens able to access a record total of 190 destinations around the world.

France and Germany came in tied third place with South Korea with a score of 188.

New Zealand passport holders can travel without visas to 182 countries.

The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association and in-house research.

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Afghanistan's and Iraq's passports were the weakest in the October survey, with accessibility to 30 destinations each.

But where's our very own Philippines?

The latest report also showed that US and the United Kingdom passports, both with 186 visa-free destinations, fell one spot from fourth to the fifth place after failing to gain access to new destinations. Frequent Filipino travelers won't find this surprising and are surely all too familiar with the hassle and uncertainty of applying for a visa to visit foreign countries.

VISA-FREE TRAVEL? The Philippines, unfortunately, isn't as lucky as its Asian neighbors.

In Southeast Asia, it's Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei that have the strongest passports and are all in the Top 20 globally.

Tim Geschwindt, Analyst at S-RM Intelligence and Risk Consulting, says the agreement also speaks to Russia's shifting position within the global community: "The country is continuing to seek improved bilateral relations, as well as trade, investments, and tourism ties, with new partners".

Thailand ranked 68th, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 77 countries. "This is still an impressive 14-place improvement over the position that China held at the start of 2017", noted the site. The most recent Henley Passport Index ranks the South African passport at number 52 - out of a possible 106 - which is a drop of 17 positions in ten years.

"The success stories of Mauritius and the Seychelles are a testament to the benefits that come with opening up your country to others", said Amanda Smit, director of Henley & Partners South Africa.

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