Singapore has dethroned Japan as the world's most powerful passport holder, according to a ranking published by London-based immigration consultancy Henley's & Partners, an annual list ranking countries' passports according to global access.
Passport holders are allowed visa-free entry to 192 out of 227 visa-free travel destinations available for their passport holders.
This year, after five years in first place, Japan fell to third place with 189 visa-free destinations worldwide, according to the same ranking. Austria, Finland and France also join Japan on the third-place list.
The second place is taken by Germany, Italy and Spain, respectively, with 190 destinations without a visa. Spain's position places it as the most powerful passport of all Spanish-speaking countries this year.
The United States slightly dropped to 8th place with Lithuania, with 184 destinations. In 2014, the U.S. and the U.K. were ranked 1st in the index but have faced difficulties reclaiming the top spot since then. Over the past ten years, the U.S. has risen by just 12 destinations, according to Henley and Partners, considered the smallest increase in a decade on the Henley Passport Index.
Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the list, with 27 destinations ranking as the weakest passport in the world.
The gap between the top and bottom of the index is more comprehensive than ever, with Singapore at the top able to gain visa-free access to 165 more destinations than Afghanistan.
Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and inventor of the passport index concept, mentioned in a press release the critical importance of a passport for financial freedom and business opportunity worldwide.
"Far more than just a travel document that defines our freedom of movement, a strong passport also provides significant financial freedoms regarding international investment and business opportunities," Kaelin said.
China and Ukraine also received honorable mentions, and although they did not make the top 10 of the overall list, they made it into the top 10th ranking of the most improved rankings since the last decade.
All information is based on proprietary data from the International Air Transport Association, a leading travel information database.
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