The most (and least) powerful passports in the world revealed

German travellers hold the world’s strongest passport and can visit the most countries without needing to apply for a visa, according to a newly-updated travel index.

A total of 157 countries offer Germans either visa-free access or a visa on arrival, making citizens of the central European nation the most privileged passport holders on the planet.

The power of the German passport is followed closely by travel documents issued in Sweden and Singapore, which enjoy joint second place in the ‘passport power rank’ compiled by Arton Capital’s Passport Index.

The UK shares third place with fellow EU members Denmark, Finland, France, Spain as well as Switzerland, Norway and the United States.

The UK topped the 2015 rankings, alongside Germany, but ceded that spot after several countries relaxed visa restrictions to the latter. It was leapfrogged by Sweden last year and now lags behind Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain and the US.

A further 20 countries offer Afghan visitors a visa on arrival – giving the country a visa-free score of just 23. 

Holders of Pakistani, Iraqi and Syrian passports face a similarly limited number of countries willing to let their citizens in without prior approval. 

In total, 48 countries lost ground over the past year, dropping between one and three ranks, and only 42 countries showed no movement at all.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Chairman of Henley & Partners, says that although the size and make-up of the ‘Top 10’ remains the same as last year, the changing geopolitical climate could well affect the rankings over the next 12 months.

‘We have witnessed several major events recently that are likely to have an impact on global mobility – including Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump. Both can be interpreted as steps toward restricting movement and creating barriers to entry. This trend towards curbing travel freedom is already apparent in the shift in rankings on this year’s Visa Restrictions Index,’ explains Dr. Kälin, a leading authority on international immigration and citizenship law and policy.


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