Singapore has topped a ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, toppling Japan from the top spot.
Singaporeans enjoy visa-free entry to 192 destinations, more than travellers of any other country, according to the latest Henley Passport Index.
The Southeast Asian city-state last held the top spot in 2021, before losing its position to Japan the following year.
Germany, Italy and Spain were tied in second place, with their passport holders enjoying access to 190 destinations.
Japan, which ranked first in four out of the last five years, took the number three spot with 189 destinations, tied with France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, and South Korea.
The United States, which ranked first in 2014, dropped to eighth, its lowest position yet.
Greg Lindsay, Urban Tech Fellow at Cornell Tech, said the US’s continual decline in the ranking over the last decade could be due to the country’s lack of visa reciprocity.
“The reason for the US’s slump is both easy to explain and confounding: it isn’t trying,” Lindsay said in an analysis accompanying the index.
“Of the 34 countries ranked between 1 and 10, the US boasts the smallest increase in the Henley Passport Index scores between 2013 and 2023, with additional access to only 12 countries. Singapore, by contrast, has seen an increase of 25 additional countries during the same period, propelling it upward by five places to the number 1 rank.”
Afghanistan was ranked as the country with the least powerful passport with visa-free access to just 27 destinations, followed by Yemen, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq.
Henley & Partners, a London-based immigration consultancy, compiles the annual ranking using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The index ranks countries based on the number of destinations its citizens can visit without a visa.
Source : Al Jazeera