According to the latest report on passport ranking, there are now two Asian countries holding the world’s most powerful passports. Thus, Japanese and Singaporean passports are the most accepted travel documents worldwide. The passport ranking shows that the two documents have a visa-free score of 180. This means that 180 countries allow Japanese and Singaporean passport holders to enter without a visa.
One of the reasons behind the score increase is Uzbekistan’s decision to lift visa requirements for Japanese and Singaporean nationals. The decision was reached in early February. Paraguay also removed visa requirements for Singaporean passport holders in 2017. This made the Singaporean passport alone the most powerful in the world.
Parag Khanna argued that the rise in the passport index of wealthy Asian states is long overdue. Parag Khanna is the Senior Fellow at the Centre on Asia and Globalization at the National University of Singapore.
In a statement, Khanna said: “These two states in particular are identified as peaceful commercial powers, with their citizens interested primarily in business and investment activities”.
The former owner of the world’s most powerful passport is Germany. At the moment, the German passport has a visa-free score of 179, which ranks it on the second position.
The third position in the passport ranking is owned by South Korea, alongside Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden. All of these passports have a visa-free score of 178.
US passport ranking
With a visa-free score of 176, the US passport remained on the fifth position. Even though Turkey and the Central African Republic revoked visa-free status to US passport holders, the document kept its position.
UAE passport ranking
When it comes to travel freedom, the passport of the UAE represents the biggest success story in the last decade. In the last 10 years, it went up 34 places. In 2017, UAE passport holders gained visa-free entry to China and Ireland. This made the UAE passport go up 11 positions in the last year alone.
Speaking about the UAE passport, Marco Gantenbein declared: “The UAE’s meteoric rise [on the index] is indicative of the country’s growing soft power and its visibility as a global commercial, economic and travel hub. The nation has been making steady progress with strengthening its diplomatic ties with other countries across the globe, because of which the UAE passport continues to demonstrate its agility and raise the benchmark for other countries in the Middle East”. Marco Gantenbein is the managing partner a company in charge of passport ranking.
Other passport ranking changes
An increase worth mentioning is the one of the Malaysian passport. The document reached the 11th position in 2018. Its position means that the Malaysian passport allows visa-free access to 169 countries.
In the meantime, the Russian Federation has climbed three places to take the 45th position.
The Ukrainian and Georgian passport have witnessed the highest increases of 2018. Ukraine reached the 42nd position moving up by 16 positions. On the other hand, Georgia reached the 54th position going up 14 places. The increase followed the countries’ visa liberalization with the EU in 2017.