Now that the global travel is around and about 75% of pre-pandemic levels, three passports offering their holders greater global travel freedom belong from Asia.
According to the Henley Passport Index, Japanese citizens enjoy visa-free or visa-on-demand access to a record 193 destinations around the world, just ahead of Singapore and South Korea whose citizens can freely visit 192.
The Henley Passport Index based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an initiative of London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners. The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It’s updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.
Below the Asian top three are Germany and Spain tied on 190 destinations, followed by Finland, Italy, Luxembourg on 189. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden all tied in fifth place, while France, Ireland, Portugal and United Kingdom are at No. 6.
New Zealand and the United States make an appearance at No. 7, alongside Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Afghan nationals sit at the bottom of the index once again, and can access just 27 countries without requiring a visa in advance. Among the Bottom Five Pakistani passport rests at fourth. The others in the bottom are Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan
The best passports to hold in 2023, according to the Henley Passport Index
1. Japan (193 destinations)
2. Singapore, South Korea (192 destinations)
3. Germany, Spain (190 destinations)
4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg (189 destinations)
5. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden (188 destinations)
6. France, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom (187 destinations)
7. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United States, Czech Republic (186 destinations)
8. Australia, Canada, Greece, Malta (185 destinations)
9. Hungary, Poland (184 destinations)
10. Lithuania, Slovakia (183 destinations)
The worst passports to hold in 2023, according to the Henley Passport Index
Several countries around the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 40 or fewer countries. These include:
102. North Korea (40 destinations)
103. Nepal, Palestinian territory (38 destinations)
104. Somalia (35 destinations)
105. Yemen (34 destinations)
106. Pakistan (32 destinations)
107. Syria (30 destinations)
108. Iraq (29 destinations)
109. Afghanistan (27 destinations)
Henley & Partner’s list is one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.
Arton Capital’s Passport Index takes into consideration the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories — ROC Taiwan, Macau (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican. Territories annexed to other countries are excluded.
It’s also updated in real time throughout the year, but its data is gathered by close monitoring of individual governments’ portals. It’s a tool “for people who travel, to provide accurate, simple-to-acess information for their travel needs,” Arton Capital’s founder Armand Arton told CNN in December.
Arton’s Global Passport Power Rank 2023 puts the United Arab Emirates in the top spot, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 181.
As for second place, that’s held by 11 countries, most of which are in Europe: Germany, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and South Korea.
The United States and the UK are at No.3, alongside Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Poland, Ireland and New Zealand.