These Are the Most Powerful Passports in the World for 2017

Mar 3, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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:

1. Sweden
2. Belgium
3 (tie). Italy
3 (tie). Spain
5. Ireland
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:

195. Libya
196. Pakistan
197. Eritrea
198. Iraq
199. Afghanistan

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).

H/T: Skift

Featured image courtesy of cittadinodelmondo via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.