best passport to have

World’s most powerful passport 2018

Travelling can be a bureaucratic nightmare for those on restricted passports. Here we look at the best passport to have in 2018 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 travel.

best passport to have 2018Atlas & Boots

Passports are ranked by their visa-free score

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.

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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. In this case, ‘best’ is defined by the number of countries the passport holder can visit either without a visa or by obtaining one on arrival.

Germany reclaims top spot

Last year, the best passport to have was a tie between Germany and Singapore (159 countries each). In 2018, the Singaporean passport has slipped behind Germany’s.

Germany can now access 161 countries, with Singapore, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Italy, France and Spain all joint-second with 160.

The UK is joint-third with easy access to 159 countries and the US and Ireland are joint-fourth with 159 countries.

Alas, for poor Munir, travel still remains difficult on a Jordanian passport with easy access to just 47 countries. Even worse is Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the table with visa-free access to just 25 countries. The rest of the bottom five is made of Iraq (28), Pakistan (29), Syria (33) and Somalia (34).

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
1Germany1611
2Singapore1602
Denmark160
Sweden160
Finland160
Italy160
France160
Spain160
9Luxembourg1603
Netherlands159
Belgium159
Austria159
Portugal159
Norway159
South Korea159
UK159
17Switzerland1584
Japan158
Ireland158
USA158
Canada158
22Greece1575
23Malta1566
Czech Rep156
Malaysia156
Australia156
27Iceland1557
New Zealand155
29Hungary1548
30Slovenia1539
Slovakia153
Poland153
Lithuania153
Latvia153
35Estonia15210
36Cyprus15011
37Liechtenstein150
38Romania14812
Croatia148
Bulgaria148
41Brazil14713
Monaco147
43Hong Kong14614
Chile146
Argentina146
46San Marino14215
47Andorra14116
48Israel13917
49Brunei13818
50Barbados13719
51Mexico13520
52Bahamas13221
UAE132
Vatican City132
55Seychelles13022
Uruguay130
57Saint Kitts and Nevis12823
58St. Vincent and the Grenadines12724
59Antigua and Barbuda12625
60Trinidad and Tobago12526
Peru125
62Mauritius12427
Costa Rica124
64Saint Lucia12328
Macao123
66Ukraine12229
Taiwan122
68Grenada12130
Venezuela121
70Paraguay12031
71Panama11832
72Dominica11733
73Solomon Islands11634
Samoa116
75Tuvalu11535
El Salvador115
Honduras115
Serbia115
79Guatemala11436
80Tonga11137
81Kiribati11038
82Macedonia110
83Russian Federation10939
Colombia109
85Turkey10840
86Montenegro10741
Nicaragua107
Marshall Islands107
89Moldova10642
Georgia106
91Micronesia10443
92Bosnia and Herzegovina10244
Palau102
94Albania9745
95South Africa9446
96Kuwait8847
97Timor-Leste8748
98Belize8649
99Qatar8150
Ecuador81
101Fiji8051
102Jamaica7952
Guyana79
104Bahrain7853
105Maldives7654
106Oman7455
Thailand74
108Nauru7356
109Botswana7257
Saudi Arabia72
111Belarus7158
Papua New Guinea71
Bolivia71
Kazakhstan71
115Lesotho7059
Suriname70
117Swaziland6960
118Malawi6861
Indonesia68
120Namibia6762
Kenya67
122Gambia6563
Tanzania65
Azerbaijan65
125Zambia6364
Philippines63
Cape Verde63
Tunisia63
Cuba63
Dominican Republic63
China63
132Zimbabwe6265
133Uganda6166
134Ghana5967
Sierra Leone59
Armenia59
Kyrgyzstan59
138Mongolia5868
Morocco58
140Benin5769
Sao Tome and Principe57
142Senegal5670
India56
Haiti56
145Guinea5571
Cote d'Ivoir55
Uzbekistan55
Tajikistan55
149Mozambique5472
Burkina Faso54
Mauritania54
152Mali5373
Rwanda53
Gabon53
155Niger5274
Togo52
Madagascar52
Bhutan52
159Cambodia5175
Egypt51
Comoros51
162Guinea-Bissau5076
Vietnam50
Turkmenistan50
165Angola4977
Laos49
Chad49
168Jordan4878
Algeria48
Equatorial Guinea48
171Liberia4679
Cameroon46
Burundi46
Central African Republic46
175Congo4580
176Nigeria4481
Djibouti44
178Congo DRC4382
179Myanmar4283
Kosovo42
181Palestinian Territories4084
South Sudan40
Libya40
North Korea40
185Lebanon3985
Ethiopia39
187Sri Lanka3886
Nepal38
Yemen38
Eritrea38
191Bangladesh3787
Sudan37
193Iran3688
194Somalia3489
195Syria3390
196Pakistan2991
197Iraq2892
198Afghanistan2593

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

Lead image: Dreamstime

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