Japan and Singapore share first place on the latest Henley Passport Index, enjoying visa-free access to 189 destinations and kicking Germany into second place for the first time since 2013. South Korea shares third place with Sweden, Finland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, and France, announced Henley & Partners in a press release Tuesday.
The rest of the top 20 on their Henley Passport Index — based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — remains fairly stable, with no new visa-waivers processed for the UK and the US, who both remain in fourth place.
The Henley Passport Index goes beyond a simple ranking of passports to provide an in-depth picture of travel freedom, including which countries you can access with which type of visa, how a nationality’s passport has changed over the last 13 years, how one passport compares to other passports, why they have the level of access it does and which additional passports improve a traveller’s mobility.
Nationals of most EU member states have not seen any improvement in their global access since 2017, mainly because their inbound policies are so restrictive.
According to Prof. Dr. Florian Trauner, Research Professor at the Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels, “The current political climate in the EU is not conducive to more liberal admission policies” and “in the wake of the Brexit vote, the UK has been trying to install a stricter immigration regime vis-à-vis both EU and non-EU citizens.”
Dr. Parag Khanna, Managing Partner of FutureMap, says Trump’s travel bans are unlikely to affect the power of the US passport: “Countries with weak economies cannot afford to close out a nationality that provides large inflows of tourists. Turkey learned this lesson when it temporarily demanded that Americans apply for visas before traveling there.”
Russia, which opened its borders to World Cup fans, has not yet gained reciprocal access to any new destinations, but it nonetheless rose one place to 46th position. The UAE, now in 21st place, has continued its remarkable performance, gaining access to four new destinations since May — Guyana, Canada, Brazil, and Barbados.
Despite recently gaining access to Belarus and Zimbabwe, China has fallen one place to 69th on the Henley Passport Index. Improved scores for countries such as Nauru, Belarus, and Indonesia, which sit directly above China, have made it difficult for the country to ascend the ranking.