best passport to have

World’s most powerful passport 2017

Travelling can be a bureaucratic nightmare for those on restricted passports. Here we look at the best passport to have in 2017 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, ranked joint-fourth with easy access to 157 countries. 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.


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Singapore challenges Germany

In 2016, the best passport to have was either German or Swedish. However, the Swedish passport has slipped to third place as Singapore’s passport has moved up to joint first. Ukraine has extended visa-on-arrival travel to Singaporean passport holders for periods of 15 days, increasing Singapore’s total visa-free score to 159, effectively making Singapore’s passport as powerful as Germany’s.

Alas, for poor Munir, travel still remains difficult on a Jordanian passport with easy access to just 47 countries. Even worse is Afghanistan. the country sits at the bottom of the table with visa-free access to just 24 countries. The rest of the bottom five is made of Pakistan (27), Iraq (28), Syria (31) and Somalia (33).

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.

RankCountryVisa-free scorePower rank
1Germany1591
Singapore159
3Sweden1582
4Denmark1573
Finland157
Italy157
France157
Spain157
Norway157
United Kingdom157
South Korea157
United States Of America157
13Switzerland1564
Netherlands156
Luxembourg156
Belgium156
Austria156
Portugal156
Malaysia156
Japan156
21Ireland1555
Canada155
23Greece1546
New Zealand154
Australia154
26Iceland1537
27Malta1528
Czechia152
29Hungary1519
30Poland15010
31Slovenia14911
Slovakia149
Lithuania149
Latvia149
35Estonia14812
Liechtenstein148
37Cyprus14713
38Brazil14414
Monaco144
40Croatia14315
Romania143
Bulgaria143
43Argentina14216
44Hong Kong14117
Chile141
46San Marino14018
47Andorra13919
48Israel13820
49Brunei13621
50Barbados13422
51Bahamas13123
Mexico131
Vatican City131
54Uruguay12924
55Seychelles12825
56Antigua And Barbuda12626
57Saint Kitts And Nevis12527
United Arab Emirates125
59Trinidad And Tobago12328
St. Vincent And The Grenadines123
61Costa Rica12229
62Mauritius12130
Venezuela121
Peru121
65Saint Lucia12031
Taiwan120
67Grenada11832
Macao118
69Panama11733
Paraguay117
71Vanuatu11634
72Dominica11435
73Solomon Islands11336
Samoa113
El Salvador113
Honduras113
77Tuvalu11237
Serbia112
79Guatemala11138
80Tonga10939
81Kiribati10740
Macedonia (Fyrom)107
83Russian Federation10541
Colombia105
Marshall Islands105
86Montenegro10442
Turkey104
Moldova104
Nicaragua104
90Georgia10343
91Bosnia And Herzegovina10244
Micronesia102
93Palau10145
94Albania9746
95South Africa9347
96Timor-Leste8548
Ukraine85
Kuwait85
99Belize8449
100Qatar7950
101Jamaica7851
Fiji78
103Guyana7652
Bahrain76
Ecuador76
106Maldives7453
107Botswana7254
Oman72
Thailand72
110Nauru7155
111Saudi Arabia7056
112Lesotho6957
Belarus69
Suriname69
Papua New Guinea69
Kazakhstan69
117Kenya6858
Bolivia68
119Swaziland6759
Malawi67
121Namibia6660
122Gambia6561
123Tanzania6462
124Cape Verde6363
Azerbaijan63
126Zambia6264
Tunisia62
128Zimbabwe6165
Philippines61
130Sierra Leone6066
Uganda60
Cuba60
Dominican Republic60
134Ghana5967
Armenia59
Indonesia59
137Mongolia5868
Kyrgyzstan58
139Benin5769
140China5670
Sao Tome And Principe56
142Senegal5571
Guinea55
Morocco55
Cote D'ivoire (Ivory Coast)55
146Burkina Faso5472
Uzbekistan54
Tajikistan54
Haiti54
150Mauritania5373
151Mali5274
Togo52
Mozambique52
Rwanda52
155Niger5175
Madagascar51
Gabon51
158Egypt5076
Bhutan50
Comoros50
161Guinea-Bissau4977
India49
Viet Nam49
Chad49
Cambodia49
Turkmenistan49
167Algeria4878
168Liberia4779
Jordan47
Laos47
Cameroon47
172Angola4680
Burundi46
Central African Republic46
Equatorial Guinea46
176Congo4581
177Nigeria4482
178Djibouti4383
179Congo (Dem. Rep.)4284
180Myanmar [Burma]4185
Kosovo41
182Palestinian Territories3986
North Korea39
Eritrea39
185Sri Lanka3887
Lebanon38
South Sudan38
Ethiopia38
189Bangladesh3788
Nepal37
Iran37
Libya37
Yemen37
Sudan37
195Somalia3389
196Syria3190
197Iraq2891
198Pakistan2792
199Afghanistan2493


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Rankings are from Arton Capital, a financial firm that enables individuals, families and companies to invest abroad.

(Lead image: Dreamstime)

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