A new research on passports shows that Germany still possesses the most powerful passport in the world in 2018. At the same time, the British passport managed to go from the 8th position to the 3rd.
The ranking was made by a company specialized in citizenship and planning. The company takes into account how many countries a passport holder can visit without applying for a visa. Germany’s passport obtained a visa-free score of 177. This means that German passport holders can travel visa-free to 177 out of a possible of 218. Figures went up from 2017, when the visa-free score was 176. Meanwhile, British passport holders can visit 175 countries, up from 173.
The British passport topped the rankings in 2015, sharing the position with Germany. However, it ceded the place after several countries relaxed travel restrictions to the latter. In 2016, the British passport was leapfrogged by the Swedish one. The next year, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain and the UK surpassed the UK. Currently, the British passport shares the 3rd position with Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Japan and Norway.
In 2017, Belarus offered visa-free entry to British citizens. In the same year, Kazakhstan and Vietnam renewed their visa-free arrangements with the UK. Also, Ethiopia offered a new e-visa option. Overall, this helped the UK boost its position in the ranking.
At the bottom of the table are the passports of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. These passports obtained the visa-free scores of 24, 27 and 28, respectively.
Increases and decreases in the passport ranking
Altogether, passports from 143 countries have improved their visa-free scores. On the other hand, seven passports have witnessed a decrease of their visa-free score.
The Georgian passport had the biggest visa-free score increase in the ranking. From 84 countries allowing Georgian passport holders to enter visa-free, the number increased to 99. The second biggest increase was witnessed by Ukraine, with a score going from 100 to 114. China also went up from 50 to 60 and Sierra Leone from 54 to 62. Indonesia also witnessed an increase going up to a visa-free score of 63 from 56.
The report states: “As the world economy has become increasingly globalized, the need for greater visa-free access has grown steadily. Across the economic spectrum, individuals want to transcend the constraints imposed on them by their country of origin and access business, financial, career, and lifestyle opportunities on a global scale”.
Brexit impact on British passport
The Brexit impact on the British passport is yet to be seen. It appears that travel to and from EU countries won’t be obstructed. However, questions have been raised to whether or not such travel will require more bureaucracy.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin declared: “We have witnessed several major events recently that are likely to have an impact on global mobility – including Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump. Both can be interpreted as steps toward restricting movement and creating barriers to entry. There is still huge disparity in the levels of travel freedom between countries, despite the world becoming seemingly more mobile and interdependent,” he added. “Generally, visa requirements are a reflection of a country’s relationship with others, and take into account diplomatic relationships between countries, reciprocal visa arrangements, security risks, and the dangers of visa and immigration regulation violations”. Dr. Christian H. Kälin is the chairman of the company in charge with the ranking.