Which country has the most powerful passport in the world? Hint: It’s not the U.S.

·3 min read

The passport — the key to being able to travel — has power.

But not all passports are equal. Some open more doors than others to travel around the world. The most powerful passports are those that offer greater freedom to enter the most countries without additional entry requirements such as visas.

Every year the list of the most powerful passports in the world is released. Different factors affect the freedom to travel and the strength of a passport.

More than 100 countries participate in this sort of global competition, a classification based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

According to Henley’s latest passport report — The Henley Passport Index HPI — which ranks passports based on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa, a Japanese passport opens more doors than any other passport in the world.

HIP also rates the value of world passports in relation to whether they allow the holder to visit many countries with the following entry criteria:

Passport

Electronic travel authorization, online visa waiver

Visa on arrival

The coveted United States passport.
The coveted United States passport.

List of the most powerful passports

Japan snagged the top ranking with 193 visa-free or visa-on-arrival destinations, followed by Singapore and South Korea, which tied for second place with 192 visa-free destinations.

The passports of Spain and Germany are tied for third place with 190 destinations to travel to other countries. Both are the most powerful European passports in the world.

Finland, Italy and Luxembourg share fourth place with 189 countries of entry.

Also in Europe, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden take fifth place with 188 points.

Close behind these European countries are France, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. All of them in sixth place with 187 visa-free entry destinations.

This year, the U.S. passport is the seventh in the world ranking, tied with four other countries — Belgium, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland. All of them have access to 186 visa-free destinations.

The Ukraine rose in the 35th place rankings this year because the European Union gave Ukrainian citizens the right to live and work in the EU for up to three years. The Ukrainian passport now allows visa-free access to 144 destinations.

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Latin American passports

The Chilean passport is the most powerful in Latin America and occupies the 16th position worldwide with 174 destinations without a visa. It is tied with two other countries — Monaco and Romania.

Argentina and Brazil are tied for 19th place with 170 destinations

Mexico is in 24th place with 159 destinations

Uruguay is in 28th place with 153 destinations

Costa Rica is in 31st place with 150 destinations

Panama is in 36th place with 143 destinations

Paraguay is in 37th place with 142 destinations

Peru is in 38th place with 136 destinations

El Salvador is in position 39 with 134 destinations

Guatemala and Honduras are tied for 40th place with 133 destinations

Colombia is in 41st place with 132 destinations

Nicaragua is in 44th place with 128 destinations

Ecuador is in 61st place with 92 destinations.

Bolivia is in 69th place with 80 destinations

The Dominican Republic is in 78th place with 70 destinations

Cuba is in 82nd place with 65 destinations.

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The weakest passports

Afghanistan has the weakest passport in the world. HPI places this country at the bottom of the list, in 112th place. The passport allows the holder to enter only 27 countries and territories without applying for a visa in advance. And of these countries, many still require the traveler to apply for a visa upon arrival.

Iraqi passports, which are only slightly above those issued by Afghanistan, can only enter 29 destinations without obtaining a visa before travel.

Completing the bottom of the world list are Yemen, with 34 destinations; Pakistan, with 32 destinations; and Syria, with 30 destinations.