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The Most Powerful Passports in The World: Where Can You Travel Freely

We all take the ability to get on board a plane, a boat a train or even a car for free. Whether we want to head to a far-flung resort for a holiday or whether we want to indulge in a little cross-border road trip.

No matter where we end up, though we need to flash that little book at the officials to ensure we can be granted entry. Without a passport, we aren’t getting far.

Some countries have certain restrictions though, whether enforced due to sanctions imposed upon them by other nations, or rules imposed by their own governments where access to other nations is just forbidden. Perhaps due to a political situation or military action elsewhere.

Which passport gives access to the most countries?

The current results from the Henley & Partners index show that countries in the far east tend to have passports that grant bearers access to more countries than elsewhere in the world.

Japan currently tops the list with owners of a Japanese passport able to enter 193 countries of the 195 countries in the world without any form of prior visa.

Coming second on the list was both Singapore and South Korea with 192 countries on their list.

Besides the Japanese passport there are currently only 3 other passports that will provide a visa-free entry or an entry via an electronic travel authorisation to the 4 largest economies of the world, (China, India, the EU, and the USA) these passports are those of the citizens of Brunei, San Marino, and Singapore.

Source: Statista/ Henley & Partners Passport Index 2022

Which other nations have strong passports?

Many European nations fill high spots on the index. Both Germany and Spain tie for third spot with citizens having access to 190 countries across the globe. As we look down the list. More countries from the continent follow, allowing for a wide-range of visa-free travel for bearers. If you hold a passport from Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark, Netherland, or Sweden you have the luxury of being able to visit between 188-189 nations worldwide.

How strong is a British passport?

The index ranks a British passport as the 6th strongest in the world alongside those of France, Ireland and Portugal. Holding one of these will see you have access to 187 different countries.

Whether the move from the EU has changed much could be open to interpretation, however, back in 2010 a British passport was the strongest in the world with it sliding to 6th in 2019.

What about the USA?

Much is said about the USA being the land of the free and it largely is as it takes 7th spot on the index, equal to Belgium, Norway, New Zealand, and Switzerland. People holding these passports can gain visa-free entry to 186 countries.

What are the weakest passports in the world?

At the other end of the scale are some of the countries you may expect to find on such listings, those that have either been part of international conflict, those that have particularly hardline political stances or those that have perhaps had sanctions put on freedom of movement.

The passport that currently has the weakest passport in the world is the passport of Afghanistan, bearers can only gain access to 27 countries visa-free. Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan fill the slots directly above with citizens holding these passports being able to travel to between 29-32 countries without a visa.

Surprisingly to some, a North Korean passport can help you gain access to more than 8 of the countries featured on the list.  A DPRK passport holder being able to travel to 40 countries without a visa.

How to make your passport strong?

There are a few ways in which you can build a stronger passport. Some involving financial investment.

Citizenship by investment

If you are an investor and would like to expand your options for global travel, you can apply for a passport via citizenship by investment. This is where you invest a sum of money into the chosen country, normally in property, by creating jobs or by setting up a business. This is normally reserved for those of a high net worth and the amounts required to be able to apply for citizenship by investment vary greatly between nations. Using the UK as an example, a scheme called the tier one investor visa was in place and required individuals to invest a minimum of £2m. This particular visa has now ended but if one has been held recently it can be changed to a more permanent visa type. These days those looking for UK citizenship can apply for various visas as long as they meet certain criteria.

An innovator visa is for those who have at least £50,000 to invest in a new business they are looking to set up and run from the UK. If granted the dependent family can also stay in the UK for up to 5 years.

Build your travel history

Collecting stamps in a passport may sound novel but it actually helps when trying to go further afield. Many countries will assess your travel history before granting any visa and proof of legal entry to countries will go a long way to assuring them.

Combine a passport with a visa

If, for example, you held citizenship in one of the countries with less vias-free entry then you would have hoped, you can massively expand your levels of visa-free movement.

If you are, for example, an Indian passport holder, you currently have access to 60 nations. Visa-free. Applying for a Schengen visa bumps that up to 126 countries that are now accessible without a visa!

Wherever you are looking to travel, always ensure you have the correct documentation. Penalties can be severe, so it is always worth checking via your government website what the requirements are. In addition, travel health insurance is vital as some countries will charge visitors exorbitant amounts for treatments. Expatriate Group can help with that, with coverage expanding across the globe to more than 180 countries and over 100,000 people covered, we are experts in protecting you abroad. Contact us today to get a free quote.

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