most powerful passport

Congratulations Japan! After tying in the top spot with Singapore in the previous survey, Japan has snuck by the competition to win the award for the world’s most powerful passport in the Henley Passport Index.

Henley & Partners, an investment consultant in London, has been running the index for almost two decades and has a relatively straightforward method.

For each country that your passport can get you into without a visa; or with an easy visa/documentation upon arrival option, the “passport” receives a point.

Japan takes first prize in the most recent survey with easier entry into a whopping 193 countries, edging out Singapore and South Korea by a single point. The survey includes 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.

Nagoya castle and city skyline in Japan at sunset

Japan Takes The Top Spot

Truthfully, it’s not really a surprise that Japan is at the top, since Japan and Singapore have been battling for that #1 spot since 2018. It’s been a long slog.

South Korea, which was one of the first major North Asian countries to open in the last year, takes the bronze medal for the first time, having finished fourth in the past few years.

Japan hasn’t always been near the top, though.

In fact, the Asian countries didn’t even breach the top 10 until 2018. Western Europe and Scandinavia had dominated the prior decade, holding every one of the top ten positions as recently as 2017. Those regions didn’t fare poorly in 2022, though, making up spots 4-10.

Passport Tidbits

Here’s the good news. You probably don’t need to move to Japan or obtain outside citizenship to experience some passport power. The United States tied for seventh with 186 options, while the UK finished sixth, at 187.

If you do want to, Henley is regarded as the best for “golden visa” style citizenship routes, which are a growing favorite of digital nomads.

And at the other end of the scale? Afghanistan ranks as the least useful passport, allowing visa-free entry to only 27 countries. Iraq and Syria round out the bottom, scoring 29 and 30, respectively.

One passport to watch may be the United Arab Emirates, which tied for 15th in 2022, with 176 points to its name. In 2017, it was tied for 38th, allowing easy entry to 121 countries. The UAE is also courting nomads. Five years prior, this blossoming passport was tied for 64th, with just 70 points.

Clearly, this is a passport on the move.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. Japan has 193 countries, USA 186. I wonder what are the 7 counties where Japanese are allowed to travel, but Americans aren’t?

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