Singapore Passport Is the Most Powerful in the World; India Improves Ranking
Singapore passport became the most powerful one in the world after Paraguay’s decision to remove visa requirements for passport holders of the country, according to the Global Passport Index 2017, which was amended recently after the South American nation’s new policy.
The 2017 passport index was initially published in January. With the new changes, Singaporeans can now travel to 159 countries without a visa or with visa on arrival (VOA) or electronic travel authorization. Earlier, Germany and Singapore were tied at the first place with a visa-free score (VFS) of 158.
The passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories — ROC Taiwan, Macao (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican — are considered for the index. To find the individual rank of each passport, Arton Capital, which publishes the survey, analyzes the visa-free score, and the VOA score, and lastly, the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index (UNDP HDI) is used as a tie-breaker.
“The UNDP HDI is a significant measure on the country’s perception abroad,” according to the Passport Index website.
For the first time ever an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world, Philippe May, the Managing Director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office, told CNN. “Singapore has constantly increased its passport strength since it became independent in 1965,” May said.
“This due to a smart and far-sighted foreign policy, excellent diplomacy and by understanding globalization as an opportunity. Unlike Schengen member countries [in Europe], Singapore decides alone who to grant visa-free access.
“Singapore is not locked into a common travel zone (e.g. with other ASEAN countries), and never had to impose visa restrictions on foreign nationals only because other ASEAN member countries have restrictions.”
India Ranks 75th
India ranks 75th and doesn’t share the position with any other country. India’s VFS is 51, less than that of Madagascar and Haiti. However, India has worked hard to improve its VFS score in the recent years, also easing passport norms to catch up with the rest of the world. The country listed 78th last year.
Pakistan is second last on the list and its passport holders can visit only 26 countries visa-free, with visa on arrival or through eta. Afghanistan is the lowest scoring country. Sri Lanka and Nepal’s VFS is 89, and both countries’ passport holders can visit 36 countries visa-free. Myanmar fares better at 84 while Bhutan stands at 76. In South Asia, India holds the best score.
U.S. Passport Gets Weaker
The U.S. passport has fallen since President Donald Trump assumed office. The visa-free status for American passport holders was most recently revoked by Turkey and the Central African Republic. The United States got a score of 154 — tied with Canada, Ireland and Malaysia — while the United Kingdom fared better at 156.
Top 10 Powerful Passports With Their Visa-Free Score:
1. Singapore: 159