Lonely Planet Writer

Discover the most powerful passports in the world for 2018

For the fifth-year running, Germany has the most powerful passport in the world, according to the Henley Passport Index.

The German passport is once again the most powerful in the world. Image by Ayla Altintas / EyeEm

Germans enjoys visa-free access to 177 countries – rising from 176 in 2017 – according to this year’s index by Henley & Partners, a global residence and citizenship planning firm. The index ranks nations around the world on how many countries citizens can visit without a visa – something that can be a significant cost or barrier when it comes to international travel. A similar ranking, Arton Capital’s Passport Index, also places Germany in the top spot.

In second place is Singapore, which grants visa-free access to 176 countries. The third place spot is held by eight countries, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, where citizens can travel to 175 countries without a visa. While European countries fill the highest-rungs of the ranking – Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain all tie for fourth – there were a number of advancements in many regions.

Do you have one of the most powerful passports in the world? Image by vgajic/Getty Images

Russia climbed three spots to 48th, while China rose the most of countries in North Asia, rising ten spots to 75th. The countries that saw the most improvement this year were Georgia and Ukraine, both of which completed a visa-liberalisation process with the EU in 2017. That meant that Georgians are now able to access 30 more countries without a visa, and Ukrainians 32. The passport index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a database of travel information. Out of the 199 countries in the index, 143 improved their rank and 41 maintained their spots.