best passport to have

World’s most powerful passport – updated for 2016

Travelling can be a bureaucratic nightmare for those on restricted passports. Here we look at the best passport to have based on the freedom it provides.

Ten years ago, in my first job after graduation, I shared an office with a researcher called Munir who I nicknamed Dr2 because he not only had a PhD but was also qualified as a medical doctor. (I recognise it’s not the wittiest name in the world but it was the best I could do at the time.)

Munir played loud Arabic music while he worked, loved learning British colloquialisms (“armchair critic”, “fairweather friend”), and held a Jordanian passport. One day, he came into work clearly frustrated and announced that he was giving up on travelling. Stationed in the UK for three years, he thought he would have a great opportunity to see Europe while he was here. Alas, his passport was so restrictive that securing visas became distinctly Sisyphean. He as a doctor (twice over) had fewer rights than I did as a new grad with relatively few skills just because our passports were different.

It was the first time I realised how lucky I was to have a British passport. I have been routinely reminded of this fact in the ensuing decade, most recently by Arton Capital, a financial firm that annually compiles an index of the best passports to have. ‘Best’ is defined by the number of countries the passport holder can visit either without a visa or by obtaining one on arrival.

In 2015, the best passport to have was either British or American. However, the two countries have slipped to joint third with Germany and Sweden moving up into top spot with easy access to 157 countries. Alas, for poor Munir, travel still remains difficult on a Jordanian passport with easy access to just 47 countries.

Best passport to have: the rankings

Editor’s note: If you’re planning to put your passport to use this year, grab a copy of our travel guide to help you see more of the world.

RANK COUNTRY NO. OF EASILY ACCESSIBLE COUNTRIES
1 Germany 157
Sweden 157
3 Finland 156
Italy 156
Switzerland 156
France 156
Spain 156
United Kingdom 156
9 Denmark 155
Netherlands 155
Belgium 155
South Korea 155
Norway 155
14 Singapore 154
Luxembourg 154
Austria 154
Portugal 154
United States of America 154
19 Greece 153
Ireland 153
Japan 153
22 Canada 152
New Zealand 152
24 Czech Republic 151
Hungary 151
26 Malta 150
Iceland 150
Australia 150
29 Slovakia 149
Malaysia 149
Poland 149
32 Slovenia 148
33 Cyprus 147
Latvia 147
35 Estonia 146
Lithuania 146
37 Liechtenstein 145
38 Bulgaria 143
Monaco 143
40 Romania 142
41 Croatia 141
42 Argentina 140
Brazil 140
61 Hong Kong 138
Israel 138
Chile 138
San Marino 138
48 Andorra 137
49 Brunei 135
50 Barbados 130
51 Bahamas 128
Vatican City 128
53 Uruguay 127
54 Mexico 126
55 Seychelles 123
56 Antigua and Barbuda 122
57 Saint Kitts and Nevis 121
Venezuela 121
59 Trinidad and Tobago 120
United Arab Emirates 120
61 St. Vincent and The Grenadines 119
Costa Rica 119
Taiwan 119
64 Saint Lucia 118
65 Mauritius 116
Panama 116
67 Grenada 115
68 Paraguay 114
69 Dominica 111
Macao 111
71 Vanuatu 110
72 Samoa 109
Honduras 109
Serbia 109
75 Tonga 106
El Salvador 106
Guatemala 106
78 Macedonia (Fyrom) 105
79 Russian Federation 103
Turkey 103
Colombia 103
82 Moldova 102
83 Montenegro 101
84 Nicaragua 99
85 Bosnia and Herzegovina 96
86 Albania 92
87 South Africa 90
88 Ukraine 84
89 Timor-Leste 83
90 Belize 81
Peru 81
92 Kuwait 80
93 Solomon Islands 77
94 Jamaica 75
Tuvalu 75
Fiji 75
Qatar 75
98 Maldives 74
99 Guyana 73
100 Kiribati 72
Ecuador 72
102 Bahrain 71
103 Nauru 70
Thailand 70
Suriname 70
106 Kazakhstan 69
107 Saudi Arabia 68
108 Oman 67
Papua New Guinea 67
Belarus 67
111 Botswana 66
Lesotho 66
Marshall Islands 66
Georgia 66
115 Malawi 65
116 Swaziland 64
Kenya 64
Bolivia 64
119 Gambia 63
Namibia 63
121 Azerbaijan 62
Micronesia 62
Palau 62
124 Tanzania 61
Tunisia 61
Philippines 61
127 Ghana 60
128 Zambia 59
Cape Verde 59
Cuba 59
Kyrgyzstan 59
132 Mongolia 58
Morocco 58
Armenia 58
135 Sierra Leone 57
Zimbabwe 57
Uganda 57
138 Indonesia 56
Benin 56
140 Guinea 55
141 Senegal 54
Cote Divoire (Ivory Coast) 54
Uzbekistan 54
Tajikistan 54
145 Mali 53
Mauritania 53
147 Burkina Faso 52
Togo 52
Sao Tome and Principe 52
150 Niger 51
India 51
Egypt 51
Turkmenistan 51
Dominican Republic 51
Haiti 51
156 China 50
Viet Nam 50
Cambodia 50
159 Guinea-Bissau 49
160 Algeria 48
Bhutan 48
162 Mozambique 47
Jordan 47
Chad 47
Gabon 47
Madagascar 47
167 Nigeria 46
Rwanda 46
Central African Republic 46
170 Liberia 45
Angola 45
Comoros 45
Equatorial Guinea 45
174 Laos 44
Cameroon 44
176 Yemen 43
Congo 43
178 Burundi 41
Myanmar [Burma] 41
Djibouti 41
181 Lebanon 40
North Korea 40
Kosovo 40
184 Congo (Dem. Rep.) 39
Nepal 39
186 Sri Lanka 37
Palestinian Territories 37
Libya 37
Eritrea 37
190 Bangladesh 36
Iran 36
South Sudan 36
Ethiopia 36
Sudan 36
195 Syria 34
196 Somalia 32
197 Iraq 30
198 Pakistan 27
199 Afghanistan 24

InterNations is the biggest expat community worldwide. It hosts over 4,000 events throughout the year, offering a great way to make new friends. Sign up for free here.

internations-banner-728x90
Rankings are from Arton Capital, a financial firm that enables individuals, families and companies to invest abroad.

(Lead image: Dreamstime)

Subscribe and get 5 free travel ebooks

We'll send you a roundup of posts on the last day of every month

You might also like: