Japan is now the country with the most powerful passport in the world, leaving Singapore the second and Germany the third, the latest updates on the Henley Passport Index show. The Japanese passport holders can now enter 190 world countries visa-free or by obtaining a visa-on-arrival, while they could do so with 180 countries in February, and 189 in May.

The country has been switching between the first, second, and third position in this list with Singapore and Germany, often sharing the same position with one of these two. Now, a Japanese passport enables its holder to visit one country more than the Singaporean and two more than the German passport.

A Foreign Ministry official in charge of issuing passports commented the issue, claiming that such thing means Japan has been enjoying international reliability.

“Economic power may be contributing to this, but we believe Japan may owe this position to its strong national security,” the Japanese official is cited to have said.

Top countries with world’s strongest passports

The top ten positions on this list, according to the statistics published by the Henley Passport Index, are as following:

  1. Japan: 190 countries
  2. Singapore: 189 countries
  3. Germany, France, South Korea: 188 countries
  4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain: 187 countries
  5. Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, United States: 186 countries
  6. Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada: 185 countries
  7. Australia, Greece, Malta: 183 countries
  8. New Zealand, Czech Republic: 182 countries
  9. Iceland: 181 countries
  10. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia: 180 countries

Iraq and Afghanistan at the bottom of the list

The two Asian countries, Iraq and Afghanistan continue sitting at the end of the table with visa-free access to only 30 countries. Just above them are listed Syria and Somalia, the citizens of which have visa free or visa on arrival access to 32 countries.

The youngest European state Kosovo remains the worst performing of the countries located in the old continent. Its citizens can only visit 40 countries of the world without a visa, including its neighboring countries, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro.

Kosovo, however, may make a dramatic climb on the Henley Passport Index, since it has officially met all the criteria for visa-liberalization with the EU in July and is now in discussions with the European Council. If the visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens happens in a near future, the country may climb up to 70th position or about there, from the 97th in the list as it is now.

The Henley Passport Index is a list that ranks world passports, published by Henley & Partners, a firm focused on residence and citizenship planning. The firm ranks passports of 199 countries based on exclusive data obtained from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).


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