Germany has the world’s most powerful passport, according to the 2018 Henley Passport Index.
It’s the fifth year in a row in which the European country has topped Henley’s list, which takes into account the number of countries a passport holder can visit without a visa.
The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of travel information.
German citizens can now visit 177 countries, up one from last year, according to the report.
In October, a separate list, the Global Passport Power Rank, produced by the advisory firm Arton Capital, named Singapore as having the most powerful passport in the world. But Germany has since reclaimed the top spot in that ranking also, solidifying its standing.
Here are the 15 most powerful tiers of passports, based on the number of countries their holders can visit visa-free, according to Henley:
- Germany 177
- Singapore 176
- Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, UK 175
- Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland 174
- Ireland, South Korea, Portugal, US 173
- Canada 172
- Australia, Greece, New Zealand 171
- Czech Republic, Iceland 170
- Malta 169
- Hungary 168
- Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia 167
- Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia 166
- Estonia 165
- Poland 163
- Monaco 162
Ukraine (44th) and Georgia (53rd) were the biggest climbers on this year’s list, moving up by 15 and 14 ranks respectively, following their recent visa liberalization with the European Union.
Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan remain at the bottom of the index for the second year in a row, each able to access 30 or fewer countries visa-free.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, the group chairman of Henley & Partners, thinks the need for visa-free access is greater than ever.
“Across the economic spectrum, individuals want to transcend the constraints imposed on them by their country of origin and access business, financial, career, and lifestyle opportunities on a global scale,” he said. “The Henley Passport Index shows individuals where they lie on the spectrum of global mobility, revealing the strength that their passport has in relation to other passports.”
The German passport remains the most powerful travel document in the continent of Europe, and the fourth most powerful in the world. Despite losing its spot as the best passport to have last year, 12 months later German passport holders can visit 188 countries visa-free or by obtaining a visa-on-arrival.
According to the latest update of the Henley Passport Index, Japan, South Korea and Singapore still top the list of the world’s most powerful passports, by sharing the first spot. Holders of a passport of any of the three can visit 189 countries without struggling to get a visa.
Germany holds the second spot with the most powerful passport in not only the European Union, but also the whole of Europe. Five other EU member states share the 3rd place – with a score of 187: Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden.
Listed the last of all EU countries is Croatia, in the 20th spot. Its citizens can visit 168 countries visa-free.
On the other hand, the worst performing European country is Kosovo, listed at the end of the table, in the 95th position. Its citizens can visit only 43 countries visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival, including its four neighboring countries, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia. If the country gets Schengen visa liberalization by the end of 2019, as its leaders have frequently vowed to achieve, it will climb up the list for about 30 positions.
According to Henley Passport Index Albania is the European country that marked the most significant improvement regarding visa-free traveling for its citizens.
“Albania, for instance, has moved up 28 places on the index over the past ten years, with citizens of this once closed-off nation now able to access 116 destinations without a prior visa,” the press release reads. Albanian nationals can currently visit 116 countries without having to go through all the procedures to get a visa before their trip.
German citizens can travel to 188 world countries without a visa, or with a visa-on-arrival, as of today. The country has risen to the second place, up from the third place it held with France in the last Henley Index update.
According to Henley Passport Index, which is a list that ranks passports from the strongest to the weakest based on the number of countries one can visit without a prior visa with that passport, the German passport is the second most powerful in the world.
“Following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan, Germany currently sits alone in 2nd place, with a score of 188,” the press release reads.
It also explains that 12 months ago Japan and Singapore removed Germany from the first spot, which now they share together with South Korea. A Singaporean, Japanese or South Korean passport holder can visit 189 countries visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival, only one more than German nationals can.
All the other EU countries are listed in the 20 first positions of the index, some of which positions they share together.
Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden share the third position, whereas Luxembourg and Spain are listed fourth. The UK shares the fifth spot with Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland.
UAE, Albania and China have made the most significant difference in the last ten years. While UAE climbed the list from the 61st position that it held ten years ago, to 21st position it holds now, Albania moved for 28 places up within the same period.
At the bottom of the list sit Afghanistan and Iraq, the citizens of which can visit only 30 countries without a prior visa.
Henley Passport Index is published by the Henley & Partners, a firm for residence and citizenship planning. The findings of the index are based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA)