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What’s red and gold and accepted all over?
The answer: the Singaporean passport, which now ranks as the most powerful passport in the world.
Now what’s blue and gold and in for trouble?
That’s the US passport, which is likely to lose power and be denied easy access to more countries because of the Trump administration’s controversial foreign-policy decisions as other countries seek to tear down, not build up, borders.
Those judgments come courtesy of the Passport Index, a service of Arton Capital, a Montreal-based financial advisory firm that keeps a running tally based on how many countries don’t require a visa or will grant visas upon arrival to a given country’s passport holders.
“Singapore’s No. 1 position is a testament to its successful foreign policy and its desire to bring political and economic stability to the region,” a Passport Index spokesperson said in an email.
The Lion City steps up above formerly tied Germany on the index because Paraguay recently removed visa requirements for visiting Singaporeans. The city-state is now in the express lane to 159 countries to Germany’s 158. Singapore is the first Asian nation to achieve the top spot on the index.
“Higher placement in the Passport Index ranking shows the power and respect a given passport commands,” the spokesperson said. “The more countries accept a country’s passport visa-free, the more powerful it is. Visa-free global mobility is considered a privilege, which is why more and more people are investing in a second passport.”
The US is in the sixth tier of passport power, along with Canada, Ireland and Malaysia, with expedited access to 154 nations. The least powerful passport among the 193 United Nations members and territories considered belongs to Afghanistan, which can only open up visa-free borders with 22 countries.
“We foresee a drop in US passport ranking namely due to domestic and foreign policies adopted by the Trump administration,” the spokesperson said. “It is important to note that even if the US remains with the same visa-free score, its placement may be pushed down by other countries successfully signing bilateral visa-free agreements, thus moving up.”
In the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index for 2017, which looked at 218 countries, however, Germany remained top dog, while Singapore shared fourth place with eight others. In that ranking, the US was in third place with Spain, Italy, Denmark and Finland.
Calls and emails to Arton Capital and the Singaporean ministry of foreign affairs were not returned by publication time.
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