The Singaporean and Japanese passports have once again topped the Henley Passport Index, as the best passports to have in 2019, offering their holders visa-free access to 189 world countries.

The latest rankings show that South Korea sits second, together with Finland and Germany, which means three out of the five most powerful passports are Asian.

According to a press release of Henley & Partners, a firm focused on residence and citizenship planning, which ranks passports of 199 countries based on exclusive data obtained from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the latest ranking marks the culmination of an 18-month long winning streak for Singapore and Japan.

“Falling from the 1st place spot it shared with Japan and Singapore last quarter, South Korea now sits in 2nd place on the index along with Finland and Germany, with citizens of all three countries able to access 187 destinations around the world without a prior visa. Finland’s ascent from 3rd to 2nd place is due to recent changes to Pakistan’s formerly highly restrictive visa policy,” the press release reads.

It further explains that Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, in a bid to lure foreign tourists and boost its economy, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg hold the third place, while France has dropped to 4th place, sharing this position with Spain and Sweden.

As for the UK and the US, both countries now share the 6th place, along with Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, and Norway. According to the press release, the UK’s current position may have been affected by Brexit, and further consequences may appear when the process to leave the EU finally is completed.

“With its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK’s once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain. The Brexit process has not yet had a direct impact on the UK’s ranking, but new research using exclusive historical data from the Henley Passport Index indicates that this could change, with consequences that extend beyond a decline in passport power,” the press release suggests.

The UAE is listed among the first 20 positions on the table, for the first time. On the other hand, Afghanistan is once again is listed at the very end, this time alone in the 109th position.

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