World’s most powerful passports 2020

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We take a look at the world’s most powerful passports based on the ease with which you can enter foreign countries

Japan has been named the world’s most powerful passport in 2020, beating Singapore in second place and Germany and South Korea in third. 

The Henley Passport Index uses data from the International Air Transport Authority to measure how many destinations a passport-holder can enter without a prior visa. It analyses 199 different passports and 227 travel destinations to produce what is considered the most authoritative ranking of its kind.

10 Best passports 

1. Japan: 191 destinations
2. Singapore: 190
3. Germany: 189
3. South Korea: 189
4. Finland: 188
4. Italy: 188
5. Denmark: 187
5. Luxembourg: 187
5. Spain: 187
6. France: 186
6. Sweden: 186

10 Worst passports 

100. North Korea: 39 destinations
100. Sudan: 39
101. Nepal: 38
101. Palestinian Territory: 38
102. Libya: 37
103. Yemen: 33
104. Pakistan: 32
104. Somalia: 32
105. Syria: 29
106. Iraq: 28
107. Afghanistan: 26

Key findings

With 15 years of historical data, the Henley Passport Index allows us to analyse not just current rankings but long-term shifts and trends. 

In 2020, Japan has taken the top spot for the third consecutive year, allowing easy access to 191 destinations. Meanwhile, Singapore has held onto second place with 190 destinations. 

Japan tops the list of the most powerful passports in the world
Travel Mania/Shutterstock Japan tops the list of the most powerful passports in the world

The UK and US continue their downward trend from sixth place to eighth, a significant drop from 2015 when they jointly held the top spot.  

The UAE remains the index’s biggest success story, climbing 47 places over the last decade to 18th place and now allows easy access to 171 destinations. 

Former Soviet spaces have fared well with Georgia and Ukraine climbing a respective 19 and 22 places over the past decade.

Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the index with easy access to only 26 destinations. Soberingly, it’s the largest gap between the most and least powerful passports in the index’s 15-year history with Japanese nationals able to access 165 more destinations than the citizens of Afghanistan.

Most powerful passports: complete ranking

According to researchers at Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh, there is a strong positive correlation between travel freedom and other kinds of liberties – from the economic to the political, and even individual or human freedoms. 

With this in mind, it’s interesting to look at not just the very top and bottom of the ranking, but the vast swathe in the middle. Below, is the complete index, listing passports alongside the number of destinations they can easily access.

RankPassportScore
1Japan191
2Singapore190
3Germany189
South Korea189
4Finland188
Italy188
5Denmark187
Luxembourg187
Spain187
6France186
Sweden186
7Austria185
Ireland185
Netherlands185
Portugal185
Switzerland185
8Belgium184
Greece184
Norway184
United Kingdom184
United States184
9Australia183
Canada183
Czech Republic183
Malta183
New Zealand183
10Hungary181
Lithuania181
Slovakia181
11Iceland180
Latvia180
Slovenia180
12Estonia179
13Liechtenstein178
Malaysia178
14Poland176
15Monaco175
16Chile174
Cyprus174
17Romania172
18Bulgaria171
United Arab Emirates171
19Argentina170
Brazil170
20Croatia169
Hong Kong (SAR China)169
21San Marino168
22Andorra167
23Brunei166
24Barbados160
25Israel159
26Mexico158
27Bahamas154
St Kitts and Nevis154
28Uruguay153
29Seychelles151
30Antigua and Barbuda150
31Costa Rica149
31Trinidad and Tobago149
31Vatican City149
32Mauritius146
32St Vincent and the Grenadines146
32Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)146
33St Lucia145
34Macao (SAR China)144
35Grenada142
35Paraguay142
36Panama140
37Dominica139
38Peru135
39El Salvador133
39Honduras133
39Serbia133
40Guatemala132
40Venezuela132
41Samoa131
41Solomon Islands131
42Vanuatu130
43Nicaragua128
43Ukraine128
44Colombia127
44Tuvalu127
45Tonga125
46Montenegro124
47North Macedonia123
48Kiribati122
48Marshall Islands122
49Moldova120
50Palau Islands119
51Micronesia118
51Russian Federation118
52Bosnia and Herzegovina117
53Georgia116
54Albania114
55Turkey111
56Belize100
56South Africa100
57Kuwait95
57Timor-Leste95
58Qatar93
59Ecuador91
60Fiji88
60Guyana88
60Nauru88
61Jamaica85
61Maldives85
62Botswana84
62Papua New Guinea84
63Bahrain82
64Oman79
65Bolivia78
65Suriname78
65Thailand78
66Saudi Arabia77
67Kazakhstan76
67Namibia76
68Belarus75
69Lesotho74
70eSwatini73
71Malawi72
72China71
72Indonesia71
72Kenya71
73Tanzania70
Zambia70
74Tunisia69
75Gambia68
76Azerbaijan67
Philippines67
77Cape Verde Islands66
Uganda66
78Cuba65
Ghana65
79Dominican Republic64
Zimbabwe64
80Kyrgyzstan63
Morocco63
Sierra Leone63
81Armenia62
Benin62
Mongolia62
82Mozambique61
Sao Tome and Principe61
83Burkina Faso59
Rwanda59
84India58
Mauritania58
Tajikistan58
85Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)57
Uzbekistan57
86Gabon56
Senegal56
87Guinea55
Togo55
88Cambodia54
Madagascar54
Mali54
Niger54
Vietnam54
89Bhutan53
Chad53
Comores Islands53
Equatorial Guinea53
Guinea-Bissau53
90Turkmenistan52
91Central African Republic51
Jordan51
92Algeria50
Laos50
93Angola49
Burundi49
Cameroon49
Egypt49
Haiti49
Liberia49
94Congo (Rep)47
Myanmar47
95Djibouti46
Nigeria46
96Ethiopia43
South Sudan43
97Sri Lanka42
98Bangladesh41
Congo (Dem Rep)41
Eritrea41
Iran41
99Kosovo40
Lebanon40
100North Korea39
Sudan39
101Nepal38
Palestinian Territory38
102Libya37
103Yemen33
104Pakistan32
Somalia32
105Syria29
106Iraq28
107Afghanistan26

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Lead image: Sachiczko/Shutterstock

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