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A strong passport is a blessing when it comes to seamless international travel. Being able to go in and out of various foreign countries without the hassle of applying for a visa, for example, can make a huge difference. But, for us Americans, our passports may not be as valuable as we think.
The Nomad Passport Index, which ranks 199 countries’ “value of citizenship,” released its findings for 2017 (PDF). The Index uses a weighted approach that considers a variety of factors in order to come up with its rankings. The five factors are: 1) visa-free travel (50% of ranking); 2) taxation (30%); 3) perception (10%); 4) dual citizenship (10%); and 5) overall freedom (10%).
The study’s findings for 2017 are below. And, US passports didn’t even rank in the top 30. Here are the top-10 most powerful, according to Nomad Capitalist:
3 (tie). Italy
3 (tie). Spain
6 (tie). Finland
6 (tie). Germany
8 (tie). Denmark
8 (tie). Switzerland
8 (tie). Luxembourg
The study’s rankings for 2017 placed Sweden in the top spot. In 2016’s list, compiled by the consulting firm Henley and Partners, the Scandinavian country was ranked No. 2. Germany, the No. 1 passport from last year’s Henley and Partners study, is five spots lower at No. 6, sharing a ranking with Finland. The top 10 featured all European countries, the majority of which are EU member states.
Meanwhile, the United States passport came in all the way down the list at No. 35 — a two-way tie with Slovenia. Countries that ranked ahead of the US include Estonia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malta and Slovakia. The US received especially low marks in its taxation, where it ranked the lowest (along with Eritrea) with a score of 10 for “citizens are taxed on their worldwide income no matter where they lived.” The US also received a low score in its perception.
For those wondering who came in at the bottom of the rankings, here are the countries that ranked in the last five positions:
It’s not all doom and gloom for US passport holders, however. The US ranked well in visa-free travel, as a passport holder is allowed to enter 174 countries without a visa — just three less than the leader, Germany (177).
Featured image courtesy of cittadinodelmondo via Getty Images.
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