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The world’s most powerful passports revealed — where does yours rank?

July 20 2022
4 min read
passports
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If you want to know what it feels like to hold the most powerful passport on earth, you’ll have to ask someone from Japan.

According to the latest Henley Passport Index — which ranks passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa — a Japanese passport opens more doors than any other passport worldwide.

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In an extremely strong showing for East Asia, Japan finished on top with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival rating of 193 destinations while Singapore and South Korea tied for second place with scores of 192. An array of other European countries rounded out the top five spots.

Kabukicho red light district, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matteo Colombo/Getty Images)

Despite Brexit, the U.K. only dropped down one place in the rankings. With access to 187 destinations, it joined France, Ireland and Portugal in sixth place.

The U.S. passport tied for seventh place, alongside Belgium, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland; these passports have access to 186 destinations for visa-free travel.

European nations formed the bulk of the top 10. Germany and Spain (190 destinations each); Finland, Italy and Luxembourg (189 destinations each); and Austria, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden (188 destinations each) filled out the third to fifth places, respectively.

U.S. passports are the seventh most powerful in the world, according to the new findings. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine's passport also moved up the rankings: It came in at 35 since the E.U. granted Ukrainian citizens the right to live and work there for up to three years. The Ukrainian passport now permits visa-free access to 144 destinations.

Related: The US is getting a new passport design that’s expected to be fully rolled out this summer

Researchers for the index did not consider the temporary airspace closures to Russian citizens following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian Federation’s passport is ranked 50th, even though most Russians can't visit a good chunk of the passport’s 119 possible destinations.

Toward the bottom of the list, North Korea sits at 105 — well among the worst passports to own. North Korean citizens only have the right to visit 40 destinations without a visa.

Yemen (34 destinations), Pakistan (32 destinations), Syria (30 destinations), Iraq (29 destinations) and, lastly, Afghanistan (27 destinations), round off the end of the index, making them the five most ungenerous passports on the planet.

The rankings are based on data from the International Air Transport Association. If you want to look at the wider list, click here.

The most powerful passports in summer 2022

1. Japan (193 destinations)
2. Singapore, South Korea (192 destinations)
3. Germany, Spain (190 destinations)
4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg (189 destinations)
5. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden (188 destinations)
6. France, Ireland, Portugal, U.K. (187 destinations)
7. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, U.S. (186 destinations)
8. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185 destinations)
9. Hungary (183 destinations)
10. Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia (182 destinations)

The weakest passports in summer 2022

104. Bangladesh, Kosovo, and Libya (41 destinations)
105. North Korea (40 destinations)
106. Nepal, Palestinian territory (38 destinations)
107. Somalia (35 destinations)
108. Yemen (34 destinations)
109. Pakistan (32 destinations)
110. Syria (30 destinations)
111. Iraq (29 destinations)
112. Afghanistan (27 destinations)

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

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