Singapore retained its title of having the most powerful passport in the world for 2024, with five other countries’ passports also joining the top rank of the latest Henley Passport Index.
The other passports in the top spot of the 2024 index are from France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain. The index ranks the travel documents based on how many destinations the travellers can go to without a pre-approved visa.
In a press statement released yesterday, investment migration consultancy firm Henley & Partners noted that citizens of these six countries boast visa-free travel to 194 destinations out of 227 around the globe.
Singapore and Japan have dominated the top spot on the index for the past five years.
In the last five years, Japan has ranked as the top spot for the most powerful passport, except in 2023, where it ranked second place.
Singapore was ranked first in 2019, 2021 and 2023, and second in 2018, 2020 and 2022.
Last year, Singapore’s passport accorded visa-free travel to 193 countries for its holders and was awarded the world’s most powerful passport. Japan came in a close second with visa-free travel to 192 countries.
Passports scored on visa-free travel
Henley & Partners’ website states that the annual Henley Passport Index uses official data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to come up with its ranking.
This data is then supplemented and updated using in-house research from the firm, along with other open-source online data.
This is to maintain the accuracy of the data provided by IATA, in the face of constant updates to visa policy.
Then, to create detailed visa lists for all 199 passports in its database, the firm’s research team uses publicly available and reliable online sources to cross-check each passport against all 227 possible travel destinations.
This research process is carried out throughout the year and coupled with a rigorous monitoring system by Henley & Partners to pick up relevant visa-policy shifts, the website states.
In the 2024 index, the top 10 rankings are filled by passports from European countries.
Finland, South Korea and Sweden were ranked second place with visa-free travel to 193 destinations.
Austria, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands share third place with access to 192 countries.
The United Kingdom climbed two ranks to fourth place with visa-free access to 191 destinations.
Australia and New Zealand passports retained their position of sixth place but increased their visa-free destinations from 188 in 2023 to 189 in 2024.
The United States retained its seventh place with access to 188 destinations without requiring a visa in advance.
Henley & Partners also noted that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) remained the biggest climber on the Henley Passport Index over the past decade.
The company said that UAE added an impressive 106 destinations to its visa-free score since 2014, resulting in a massive leap of 44 places in the ranking from 55th to 11th position.
The press release noted that Ukraine and China were also the top five countries with the most improved rankings since 2014. Ukraine is now in 32nd place with 148 visa-free destinations and China is 62nd on the ranking with access to 85 destinations without a prior visa.
Afghanistan ranks the lowest on the list, at 104th position, with visa-free travel to 28 countries.