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Japan Has the Most Powerful Passport in the World; India’s Ranking Improves

Indian passport

The Indian passport has been ranked on the 76th spot in the list of most powerful passports in the world, according to the recently-released Henley Passport Index. Indian passport holders have visa-free access to 59 countries.

India’s passport strength has risen by 10 points since January 2018, when the index placed India at the 86th position, since Indians could travel to 49 countries without a visa or get visa on arrival, which was the same as 2017. India then figured alongside countries like Cambodia and Central African Republic.

The Henley Passport Index is released by the residence and citizenship planning firm Henley and Partners based in Jersey, a British Crown Dependency.

According to the index, Japan has the most powerful passport in the world, with visa-free access or visa-on-arrival access to 189 countries. Singapore and Germany held the joint second place, with 188 destinations accessible without a prior visa. The third spot is shared by six countries — South Korea, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

The Henley Passport Index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The index this year includes eight new travel destinations. “This addition means that the index now encompasses almost all of the world’s destinations for which travel information is publicly available, making it the most robust index of its kind,” said Dr. Christian H. Kalin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners.

China has been ranked 68th on the index with visa free access to 71 nations, while the United States and United Kingdom occupy the fourth spot. The index pointed out that while Schengen Area countries have traditionally topped the index as a result of their open access to Europe, developed Asian nations have been able to secure equally high scores in recent years due to their strong international trade and diplomatic relations.

The index has surveyed a total of 199 different passports against 227 different travel destinations, including countries, territories, and micro-states. “The index is innovating the way we map and measure travel freedom, making it easier for individuals to understand where exactly they lie on the spectrum of global mobility,” Kalin added.

Pointing out that the countries that perform well on the index are embracing new models of global citizenship, Kalin said that these nations are adapting to an increasingly globalized world rather than moving away from it.

“Countries such as China and the UAE that are rapidly ascending the Henley Passport Index remind us that opening your borders to others results in reciprocal benefits and improved passport strength for your own citizens,” he said.

According to the Global Passport Index 2017, Singapore’s passport was the most powerful one in the world after Paraguay’s decision to remove visa requirements for passport holders of the country. 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 — were considered for the index.