THEY might be small countries but Singapore and Japan are the top-ranking nations when it comes to passport power.
In the 2019 list compiled by the Henley Passport Index, which measures how many countries a passport holder can enter visa-free or on a visa-on-arrival basis, Japan and Singapore jointly hold the top position of the world’s most travel-friendly passports, offering free access to 189 destinations.
South Korea holds the second spot alongside Finland and Germany, with citizens able to access 187 destinations without a prior visa, while Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg are in third place with visa-free access to 186 destinations around the globe.
Australian passports, one of the most powerful and safe in the world, maintained the ninth spot with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 180 nations.
While five years ago, the United States and the UK topped the rankings both countries have now slipped to sixth place, the lowest position either has held since 2010.
“With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress,” said Dr Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept.
Afghanistan topped the list of the world's weakest passports, with its citizens able to access only 25 destinations without a prior visa.
In a bid to boost tourism and its economy, Pakistan - the world's fourth weakest passport - has relaxed its restrictive visa policy and now offers Electronic Travel Authority to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, but not the United States or the UK
World's Most Powerful Passports
1. Japan, Singapore (189 countries)
2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (187 countries)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186 countries)
4. France, Spain, Sweden (185 countries)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184 countries)
6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States (183 countries)
7. Malta (182 countries)
8. Czech Republic (181 countries)
9. Australia, Iceland, Lithuania, New Zealand (180 countries)
World's weakest passports
1. Afghanistan (25 countries)
2. Iraq (27 countries)
3. Syria (29 countries)
4. Pakistan (30 countries)
5. Somalia (31 countries)