6 Countries Tie for the World’s Most Powerful Passport

People holding passports from these European and Asian countries have access to a whopping 194 destinations without obtaining a visa before arrival.

Passport covers from a dozen countries: red, blue, burgundy, black, and green

Japan shares the top spot on the Henley Passport Index in 2024 with five other countries.

Photo by Sergey Shik/Shutterstock

For the past five years, Japan and Singapore have dominated the number one spot of the Henley Passport Index, a ranking of the world’s passports in order of the number of destinations their holders can access without obtaining a visa before arrival. In an unprecedented six-way tie, four European Union members have joined those two Asian nations at the top of the 2024 index, which was announced on January 10.

France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Spain now have the most powerful passports in the world, with visa-free or visa-upon-arrival access to 194 destinations.

Using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Henley & Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm, ranks the passports of 193 United Nations member countries plus six other nonmembers (ROC Taiwan, Macao, Hong Kong, Kosovo, Palestinian Territory, and the Vatican). Additionally, it includes territories annexed to other countries—like French Polynesia and the British Virgin Islands—in its list of 227 possible travel destinations that passport holders can access.

Three countries came in joint second place with visa-free access to 193 destinations: Finland, South Korea, and Sweden. Third place is a four-way tie among Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands with access to 192 destinations each. (The United States came in seventh with access to 188 destinations—including Türkiye, which dropped its visa requirements for U.S. passport holders at the end of 2023.)

This year’s report shows a continuing trend of upward global mobility. The average number of visa-free destinations travelers can access has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024, according to Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners. The largest climber in the rankings is the United Arab Emirates, which has gone from 55th to 11th place in the past decade, offering access to 106 additional visa-free destinations since 2014.

However, there’s a wide gap between access offered at the top versus the bottom of the list. Afghanistan is currently last in the rankings at 104th place with access to only 28 destinations. Syria and Iraq ranked only slightly higher with access to 29 and 31 destinations, respectively.

2024 strongest passports in the world, according to the Henley Passport Index

According to the Henley Passport Index, 2024’s most powerful passports in the world are:

  1. France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain (194 destinations)
  2. Finland, South Korea, Sweden (193 destinations)
  3. Austria, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands (192 destinations)
  4. Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom (191 destinations)
  5. Greece, Malta, Switzerland (190 destinations)
  6. Australia, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Poland (189 destinations)
  7. Canada, Hungary, United States (188 destinations)
  8. Estonia, Lithuania (187 destinations)
  9. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (186 destinations)
  10. Iceland (185 destinations)

Henley & Partners isn’t the only company that indexes the strength of global passports. While the Passport Index by Arton takes into account the same 199 passports as the Henley Index in its rankings, it excludes territories annexed to other countries and updates its rankings in real time so its list looks slightly different.

2024 strongest passports in the world, according to the Passport Index by Arton Capital

According to Arton Capital, here’s how 2024’s most powerful passports in the world rank:

  1. United Arab Emirates (180 destinations)
  2. Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands (178 destinations)
  3. Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland (177 destinations)
  4. Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Ireland (176 destinations)
  5. Greece, Norway, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Hungary, South Korea (175 destinations)
  6. Singapore, Japan, Slovakia, United States, New Zealand (174 destinations)
  7. Malta, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Canada, Australia (173 destinations)
  8. Latvia, Iceland, Croatia, Liechtenstein (172 destinations)
  9. Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria (171 destinations)
  10. Malaysia, Monaco (169 destinations)

To see the full rankings, visit henleypassportindex.com and passportindex.com.

This article originally appeared in 2020; it was updated most recently on January 11, 2024, to include current information.

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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