The most powerful passport in the world? Six countries tie for top spot

Wealth

Six countries have earned the title of the most powerful passports in 2024 — with all of them granting visa-free travel to 194 out of 227 destinations.

Four EU member states now share crown with Singapore and Japan as the number one passport in the quarterly Henley Passport Index. They are: Spain, Germany, France and Italy.

The two Asian countries have dominated the index in the past five years.

In second place are countries like South Korea, Finland and Sweden with visa-free access to 193 destinations. Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands and Austria came in third. The UK has risen two ranks to fourth. 

Australia and New Zealand took sixth place, while the U.S. retains its 7th place, according to Henley’s rankings.

The 19-year-old global passport ranking was conducted based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority, or IATA, which ranks the world’s passports based on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

The general trend shown in the rankings has been toward more travel freedom, with the average number of destinations that travelers can access visa-free nearly doubling from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024, said Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners. 

That said, he noted that the global mobility gap between those at the top and bottom of the index has become “wider than ever.”

For one, the highest ranked passports allow travel to 166 more destinations without a visa compared to Afghanistan, which has access to only 28 countries and is last in the ranking.  

The United Arab Emirates has been the “biggest climber” of the index over the last decade, leaping from 55th in 2014 to the 11th position, the report stated.

Other notable improvements in mobility include Ukraine and China, which have climbed two ranks each in the past year. China now places 62nd on the index, while Ukraine is now in 32nd place. 

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