Lifestyle

These are the world’s most powerful passports for 2022


Singapore and Japan held the most powerful passports, sharing top spot for a second year running (Picture: Getty)

Passports have been a big topic of conversation here in the UK over the last few years, with Brexit seeing a return to the ‘British blue’ covers in use before we joined the EU.

However, the value of a passport goes far beyond its colour palette, influenced by world events, diplomacy issues, and restrictions that vary by country.

Each year, the Henley Passport Index lists the passports which allow holders the most travel freedom, basing it on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – and their 2022 ranking has just been published.

This year, the countries with the most powerful passports are Japan and Singapore, who are sharing the top spot for the second year running. Their citizens can travel to 192 countries visa-free.

In joint second (also for another year) is Germany and South Korea, whose passport holders have access to 190 destinations visa-free, while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain share third place, with a score of 189.

2020’s ranking saw both the UK and US drop to eighth place )the lowest spot held by either country in the index’s 17-year history), but they have both moved to sixth this time around with a score of 186.

Coronavirus restrictions weren’t taken into account for the research, so it’s still worth checking whether you’ll be allowed access to a country. It does give a clearer picture, though, of whether you’ll have to go through lengthy and costly entry processes when you travel.

The Henley Passport Index says that, while this year’s findings show a greater level of mobility for certain high-ranking countries, the gap between these and passports that represent less travel freedom has widened.

Afghanistan, for example, sits at the bottom of the list, with its citizens only able to enter 26 countries visa-free. 

A statement accompanying the 2022 list says: ‘This deepening divide in international mobility between wealthier countries and poorer ones was brought into sharp focus late last year with the arrival of the highly infectious Omicron variant, which was met with a raft of punitive restrictions against mainly African nations that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described as akin to “travel apartheid”.

‘According to historical data from the Henley Passport Index, an individual could, on average, visit 57 countries in 2006 without needing to acquire a visa in advance.

‘Today, that number has risen to 107, but this overall increase masks a growing disparity between countries in the global north and those in the global south, with nationals from countries such as Sweden and the US able to visit more than 180 destinations visa-free, while passport holders from Angola, Cameroon, and Laos are able to enter only about 50.’

Dr Christian H Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, added: ‘Passports and visas are among the most important instruments impacting social inequality worldwide as they determine opportunities for global mobility.

‘The borders within which we happen to be born, and the documents we are entitled to hold, are no less arbitrary than our skin colour.

‘Wealthier states need to encourage positive inward migration to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources worldwide, including improving the size and quality of their own workforces.’

Here’s the full list:



The most powerful passports in the world for 2022

1 Japan 192 visa-free countries

1 Singapore 192

2 Germany 190

2 South Korea 190

3 Finland 189

3 Italy 189

3 Luxembourg 189

3 Spain 189

4 Austria 188

4 Denmark 188

4 France 188

4 Netherlands 188

4 Sweden 188

5 Ireland 187

5 Portugal 187

6 Belgium 186

6 New Zealand 186

6 Norway 186

6 Switzerland 186

6 United Kingdom 186

6 United States 186

7 Australia 185

7 Canada 185

7 Czech Republic 185

7 Greece 185

7 Malta 185

8 Hungary 183

8 Poland 183

9 Lithuania 182

9 Slovakia 182

10 Estonia 181

10 Latvia 181

10 Slovenia 181

11 Iceland 180

12 Malaysia 179

13 Liechtenstein 178

14 Cyprus 176

15 United Arab Emirates 175

16 Chile 174

16 Monaco 174

16 Romania 174

17 Bulgaria 173

17 Croatia 173

18 Hong Kong (SAR China) 171

19 Argentina 170

20 Brazil 169

20 San Marino 169

21 Andorra 168

22 Brunei 166

23 Barbados 161

24 Israel 159

24 Mexico 159

25 St. Kitts and Nevis 157

26 Bahamas 155

27 Uruguay 153

27 Vatican City 153

28 Seychelles 152

29 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 151

30 Antigua and Barbuda 150

30 Costa Rica 150

30 Trinidad and Tobago 150

31 Mauritius 146

31 St. Lucia 146

32 Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) 145

33 Dominica 144

33 Grenada 144

33 Macao (SAR China) 144

34 Panama 142

35 Paraguay 141

35 Ukraine 141

36 Peru 135

36 Serbia 135

36 Vanuatu 135

37 El Salvador 134

38 Guatemala 133

38 Honduras 133

39 Colombia 131

39 Samoa 131

39 Solomon Islands 131

40 Tonga 129

40 Venezuela 129

41 Nicaragua 127

41 Tuvalu 127

42 North Macedonia 125

43 Kiribati 123

43 Montenegro 123

44 Marshall Islands 122

45 Moldova 120

46 Palau Islands 119

46 Russian Federation 119

47 Bosnia and Herzegovina 117

47 Micronesia 117

48 Georgia 115

49 Albania 114

50 Turkey 110

51 South Africa 104

52 Belize 101

53 Qatar 97

54 Kuwait 95   

55 Timor-Leste 93 

56 Ecuador 91

57 Nauru 89

58 Fiji 88

58 Maldives 88

59 Guyana 87

60 Botswana 86

61 Jamaica 85

62 Bahrain 84

63 Papua New Guinea 82

64 China 80

64 Oman 80

65 Belarus 79

65 Bolivia 79

65 Saudi Arabia 79

65 Thailand 79

66 Namibia 78

67 Lesotho 77

67 Suriname 77

68 Kazakhstan 75

69 eSwatini 74

70 Malawi 73

71 Kenya 72

71 Tanzania 72

72 Indonesia 71

72 Tunisia 71

72 Zambia 71

73 Dominican Republic 70

74 Azerbaijan 69

75 Gambia 68

76 Uganda 67

77 Cape Verde Islands 66

77 Philippines 66

78 Armenia 65

78 Zimbabwe 65

79 Cuba 64

79 Ghana 64

79 Morocco 64

80 Kyrgyzstan 63

80 Sierra Leone 63

81 Mozambique 62

82 Benin 61

82 Mongolia 61

82 Rwanda 61

83 India 60

83 Sao Tome and Principe 60

84 Mauritania 59

84 Tajikistan 59

85 Burkina Faso 58

86 Gabon 57

86 Uzbekistan 57

87 Cote d’Ivoire 56

87 Senegal 56

88 Equatorial Guinea 55

88 Madagascar 55

89 Guinea 54

89 Mali 54

89 Togo 54

89 Vietnam 54

90 Bhutan 53

90 Cambodia 53

90 Chad 53

90 Comores Islands 53

90 Niger 53

91 Algeria 52

91 Central African Republic 52

91 Egypt 52

91 Guinea-Bissau 52

91 Jordan 52

91 Turkmenistan 52

92 Burundi 51

93 Angola 50

93 Cameroon 50

93 Laos 50

94 Liberia 49

95 Congo (Rep.) 48

95 Haiti 48

96 Djibouti 47

97 Myanmar 46

98 Ethiopia 45

98 Nigeria 45

99 South Sudan 44

100 Eritrea 43

101 Congo (Dem. Rep.) 42

101 Iran 42

102 Lebanon 41

102 Sri Lanka 41

102 Sudan 41

103 Bangladesh 40

103 Kosovo 40

103 Libya 40

104 North Korea 39

105 Nepal 37

105 Palestinian Territory 37

106 Somalia 34

107 Yemen 33

108 Pakistan 31

109 Syria 29

110 Iraq 28

111 Afghanistan 26 

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