The 10 most powerful passports in the world
By Edwin Kis'sanya

Image [Steve Buissinne, Pixabay]

The Japanese passport has retained the title of the most powerful passport in the world.

According to the latest Henley Passport Index ranking report released on January 7 this year, Japanese passport holders can travel to 191 countries – the highest number of destinations in the world – without a prior visa. This is out of the 195 countries of the world.

The Henley Passport Index ranks the world’s passports according to the number of destinations a holder can access without a prior visa. 

For the third year running, Japan retained the top spot this year. In 2018 and 2019, Japan shared the top position with Singapore, with visa-free movements to 180 and 189 countries, respectively.

However, in 2020, the Japanese passport added two more destinations to its list, edging out the Singaporean travel document, which increased the number of countries its holders can travel to without obtaining a visa to 190. 

Japanese and Singaporean citizens are only required to obtain visas ahead of their travel abroad - for tourism purposes – to at least 36 (each) countries and disputed territories around the world. Some of these countries include Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, Sudan and Nigeria.

The South Korean and German passports shared the third position, in the ranking with their citizens able to travel to 189 nations without obtaining a visa beforehand. 

According to the ranking, Seychelles has emerged as the most powerful passport in Africa. The Indian Ocean archipelago was ranked 29 globally with its passport holders able to travel to 151 destinations without a prior visa. 

Interestingly, the Kenyan passport has been ranked as the most powerful passport in East Africa, with residents able to travel to 71 countries without a prior visa. Kenya took position 72 in the rankings.

Below are the top 10 most powerful passports in the world according to the 2020 Henley Passport Index – with the number of destinations holders can travel to without a prior visa.

  1. Japan – 191 
  2. Singapore – 190
  3. South Korea and Germany – 189
  4. Italy and Finland – 188
  5. Luxembourg and Spain and  Denmark – 187
  6. Sweden and France – 186 
  7. The Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Ireland and Switzerland – 185
  8. Greece, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom and The United States – 184
  9. The Czech Republic, Canada, Australia, Malta and New Zealand – 183
  10. Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia – 181