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These Are the Most Powerful Passports in the World in 2020

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Asian and European passports dominated the Henley Passport Index rankings in 2020.

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Asian and European passports dominated the Henley Passport Index rankings in 2020.

With visa-free access to 191 countries, Japan tops the Henley Passport Index once again this year.

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A United States passport gives you visa-free access to 184 destinations. But it’s not the most powerful in the world. In fact, in 2020, it didn’t even break the top five of the Henley Passport Index, an annual ranking of the world’s passports in order of the number of destinations their holders can access without obtaining a visa prior to arrival.

The title of world’s most powerful passport went to Japan for the third year in a row—its holders can visit 191 destinations with visa-free or visa-upon-arrival access. Singapore follows closely behind in second place with visa-free access to 190 destinations. South Korea and Germany tied for third place with access to 189 destinations each.

The United States doesn’t make an appearance until eighth on the list, a ranking it shares in a five-way tie with the United Kingdom, Norway, Greece, and Belgium, which each have visa-free access to 184 destinations. The last time the United States held the top spot in the Henley Index Passport rankings was back in 2015, when it tied for first place with the United Kingdom. Since Brexit and the 2016 election, both countries have slid a few spots a year to their current place at the edge of the top 10.

“Asian countries’ dominance of the top spots is a clear argument for the benefits of open-door policies and the introduction of mutually beneficial trade agreements,” Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners, explained in the report.

The world’s most powerful passports in 2020 are:

  1. Japan (191 destinations)
  2. Singapore (190 destinations)
  3. South Korea, Germany (189 destinations)
  4. Italy, Finland (188 destinations)
  5. Spain, Luxembourg, Denmark (187 destinations)
  6. Sweden, France (186 destinations)
  7. Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria (185 destinations)
  8. United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Greece, Belgium (184 destinations)
  9. New Zealand, Malta, Czech Republic, Canada, Australia (183 destinations)
  10. Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary (181 destinations)

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In 2020, Afghanistan landed at the bottom of the rankings at 107th place with access to only 26 destinations. In comparison, Japanese passport holders can access 165 more places around the world. Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Somalia also landed in the bottom five passports this year.

The Henley Passport Index bases its list on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the largest database of travel information worldwide. To see the full rankings, visit henleypassportindex.com.

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