What are the Most Powerful Passports of 2020?
The latest passport power rankings have come out and Asian countries have emerged as the winners. European passports, on the other hand, have shuffled down in the ranking.
Japan and Singapore have firmly established their lead on the passport power ranking, overtaking countries such as Germany and Finland.
The Henley Passport Index measures which passports are the most powerful out there based on the countries its holders can enter without prior visa approval.
For the third consecutive year, Japan hung on to its lead. Japanese citizens can enter 191 countries either without a visa or a visa on arrival. Singapore dropped down to second place with a score of 190.
Meanwhile, South Korea and Germany lost one rank, moving down to third place. Passport holders from those countries don’t need to bother with visas in 189 destinations.
Top five passports of 2020
1. Japan (191)
2. Singapore (190)
3. South Korea (189)
3. Germany (189)
4. Italy (188)
4. Finland (188)
5. Spain (187)
5. Luxembourg (187)
5. Denmark (187)
Which factors determine the power of a passport?
The Henley Passport index collects data on how many sovereign states and destinations within those states an individual can go and visit without applying for a visa beforehand.
With the rise of Asian passports, are other passports worth less now?
One of the main outcomes of the 2020 passport power ranking is the growth in power of Asian passports, particularly Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
Paddy Blewer, Group PR Director at Henley & Partners told Euronews that “passports and regional travel are a representation of positive or negative diplomatic trade and economic relationships and the status of a sovereign state. Therefore the index demonstrates a rising relative influence of Japanese, Singaporean and South Korean importance to global trade, global politics, global economics.”
According to Blewer the Japan, Singapore and South Korea have truly caught up with nations, such as Germany and Finland. However, “if you look at the numbers, over the last 10 years, for instance, some of the G7 members, Germany, US, the UK haven’t actually changed the number of destinations with visa-free travel significantly.”
“This is less a story about one group going down and more a story about one group going up,” he adds. In fact, the Western countries which seem to have fallen in the ranking, don’t usually have less visa-free options. It is just that Japan and Singapore have more.
The UAE has made the biggest journey up in the rankings in the last 10 year because of its economic growth, its growing global importance in the sense of trade and geopolitics. Therefore other countries, are keen to offer its citizens’ visa-free travel. That would be even more so true of the top Asian nations, such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
Published: 7 January 2020