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All eyes are on South Korea this month as the country hosts the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. But as the games wind down, South Korea has another cause for celebration: It was just awarded the most powerful passport in the world by The Passport Index.

For the first time ever, South Korea tops the index, which calculates the number of countries a passport holder can visit without a visa required. South Korea (and Singapore, which is tied for the top spot) has visa-free access to 162 countries.

“We are currently seeing not one but two Asian countries with the most powerful passports in the world,” Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital, told PR Newswire. “This is a testament to the increased global respect and trust Asian countries are commanding.”

Germany was most recently ranked as the world’s most powerful passport by a different index. But, in the last year, Asian countries across the board saw a boom in business and relaxed visa policies toward certain Asian countries, which let South Korea and Singapore snag the top spot from Germany.

Both countries were able to move up in the rankings after Uzbekistan granted visa-free access to them, as well as changes made to Somalia’s visa policy.

Japan also moved up in the index to tie Germany at the number two spot with visa-free access to 161 countries. The U.S. was fifth in the rankings, along with Switzerland, Ireland and Canada, which all have visa-free access to 158 countries.

 

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