The Henley Passport Index released its second classification for 2021 earlier this week. The renowned index rates travel documents based on the number of countries to which citizens can access without a visa. Hint: a certain East Asian island has been doing very well for a while.
The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations. The list is calculated on the basis of information from the International Air Transport Association.
Temporary travel restrictions due to pandemics were not taken into account.
UAE’s only Arab nation in the top 20
First an overview of what is (just) outside the top 10.
The United Arab Emirates is up one place. In January, the UAE was still in 16th place, but in the second quarter of 2021 they are in 15th place.
The UAE isn’t the only country to move up the rankings. According to the report, the UAE is “by far the most remarkable turnaround story in the index.” It remains the only Arab country in the top 20.
In 2011, the UAE was ranked 65th with a score of 67 for visa waiver and visa on arrival. Now they are in 15th place, with a score of 174. This is a shared position with Romania, and just ahead of Bulgaria and Croatia, who have each moved up from 18th to 16th place.
The index notes that this “notable increase” is due to “continued efforts by the Emirates to strengthen diplomatic ties with countries around the world.”
This was reflected recently in the signing of the historic Abraham Accords in September. As a result, the country established a visa-free travel arrangement with Israel (22nd in the list), prompting other countries in the region to do the same.
China is also one of the biggest risers in the classification’s 16-year history. The country went from 90th place in 2011, with a score of 40, to 68th place today, with a score of 77.
Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Syria and Iraq are all in the bottom 10.
Japan, Singapore and EU countries in top 10
And now … the toppers.
Japan will also remain the world’s most powerful passport in the second quarter of 2021. After all, Japanese nationals have visa-free access to 193 destinations around the world.
Singapore is still in second place, just behind Japan with a score of 192. Germany and South Korea share third place, as passport holders from each country can enter 191 locations.
The remaining top 10 is largely occupied by EU countries, including Italy, Spain, Finland and Luxembourg in fourth place with access to 190 destinations. Denmark and Austria are in joint fifth place as nationals can travel visa-free to 189 countries. The UK and the US share the joint seventh place, with a score of 187. This is a marked decrease compared to 2014, when these countries took first place. Our country is also in seventh place.
The overview of the 20 strongest passports:
- Japan (193)
- Singapore (192)
- South Korea, Germany (191)
- Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg (190)
- Denmark, Austria (189)
- Sweden, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland (188)
- Switzerland, US, UK, Belgium, New Zealand (187)
- Norway, Greece, Malta, Czech Republic (186)
- Canada, Australia (185)
- Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland (183)
- Slovenia, Latvia, Iceland, Estonia (182)
- Malaysia, Liechtenstein (179)
- Cyprus (176)
- Monaco, Chile (175)
- UAE, Romania (174)
- Bulgaria, Croatia (173)
- Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong (171)
- San Marino (169)
- Andorra (168)
- Brunei (166)
The full list can be found here.