It may sound ironic, but in a way the strength of a nation’s passport, the official identification document for travellers to other countries, is measured by how very few of those other countries need to stamp a travel visa upon it. Henley & Partners has been updating their international Passport Index (HPI) since 2006 to rank countries’ passports by how many other nations will admit their bearers without need of a visa. One of our past articles mentioned the Philippines being ranked 72nd on that index with 63 visa-free countries. Now, while we have three more nations removing visa restrictions, our rank actually went down.
The Henley & Partners Passport Index now lists 66 nations that now offer visa-free travel to holders of a Philippine passport. Back in January of this year alone, the then-63 visa-free countries was enough to make Philippine passports the 72nd most powerful nation-issued travel document. Three more countries added however, was not enough for other nations with greater gains to overtake the Philippines and leave it back in 75th place, despite having 66 foreign countries without visa restrictions on it. These include all of Southeast Asia, parts of South America, Mongolia, some Africa and Iran.
More changes are in store from our previous article on passport power. Where in January of this year Germany issued the “strongest” passport with 177 visa-free destination countries, CNN has it that it was since overtaken by Singapore with 189, but not for long. This month, Japan had Myanmar giving its permission as the 190th country to offer visa-free travel to them. That is a lot of overseas destinations that Japanese passport holders can travel to now. As for Germany, it is in 3rd place even with now-188 countries guaranteed visa-free, a rank it shares with France and South Korea.
Other major countries’ HPI rankings include the US and UK sharing the fifth spot, both with 186 visa-free destinations. There was a time when these two boasted the most powerful passports, back in 2015. Under their respective current administrations however, both have not been interested in adding new jurisdictions to their visa-free entry libraries. The biggest gainer for the 2010s decade however is the UAE. It was 62nd place on the index when it started back in 2006; now with 161 visa-free jurisdictions to its passport it sits on number 21 with Israel and Barbados.
Conversely, the weakest passport right now remains Afghanistan, improving from 24 destinations at the start of the year to only 30, and thus now shares the 106th spot with Iraq.
Here is the current Henley & Partners Passport Index Top-10:
- Japan: 190
- Singapore: 189
- Germany, France, South Korea: 188
- Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain: 187
- Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, United States: 186
- Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada: 185
- Australia, Greece, Malta: 183
- New Zealand, Czech Republic: 182
- Iceland: 181
- Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia: 180
Images: DFA and Japan Times