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2019 World Most Powerful Passport

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

World Most Powerful Passport

With the Henley Index being revealed in January, Japan has topped the list of world’s most powerful passports for 2019. This is not Japan’s first time to be on top of this list. Those having a Japanese passport can now travel to 190 countries without visa or visa-on-arrival conditions.

The US, Canada, and the UK continued to fall from their respective positions this year as well, now halting on the sixth place in the list.

Last year Myanmar granted Japanese passport visa-free access, which led the Asian nation to break the record of Singapore once holding the first position in 2017.

The Henley and Partners Visa Restriction Index was started in 2005 which was modified and renamed in 2018, provides the ranking of 199 passports according to the number of countries its holder can travel without any visa restriction.

The greater number of countries grants a passport with a visa-free entry the more will be the ‘visa-free score,' serving as a basic algorithm for list's formation.


The Henley Index is calculated in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association, which provides the data of each 199 passports against every single of the 227 travel destinations in the world.

Only those passport holders are considered in the quantitative analysis who are lone travelers rather than a part of a tourist group.

It is made sure that the holder under consideration does not meet any complex requirement such an exception made by an international rights organization or a government-issued letter. The holder must seek a short stay at the destination rather than using it as transit.

A country’s passport power also reflects its strength in the international political arena. States with progressive foreign policies sign various bilateral passport agreements which allow the accord actors to grant visa access to the citizens of the other nations.

For example, the fact that the Afghan passport is among the low rankers in the list reflects its involvement in various international conflicts. Another factor that can bump up the ranking of a passport is an economic boom in the country of its origin.

According to the 2017 Henley Index List, China - the second most powerful economy, jumped up to 20 positions due to a sharp increase in the average wealth of many Chinese families, leading to a potential increase in their expenditure, especially in terms of tertiary consumerist industries such as tourism.


Owning the world’s strongest passport does give one an edge, as the owner has the right to travel to numerous countries, including visa-free travel to the People’s Republic of China.

It proves to be particularly advantageous for entrepreneurs and industrialists as it helps in the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale. Moreover, since the holder no longer needs an alien registration card, they are free from troublesome immigration bureau procedures.

Also, having a resident card makes it possible for the whole family to be entered in the same registry, providing access to various benefits that formerly seemed to be unlikely.

It is not that easy to get visas.

There are several obstacles an individual has to go through to obtain a visa for any country abroad. Some countries have strict visa policies while others have visas that are much more expensive.

Furthermore, the ambiguity regarding visa processes makes it very difficult to follow the correct procedure in a single go without stumbling upon multiple steps. Inflexible bureaucracy also seemingly makes getting hold of a particular visa inevitably tough.

Did your country rank among the top 20 countries with visa-free access on the Henley index this year?

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