Japan has the most powerful passport in the world yet again, according to the latest Henley Passport Index. The index measures global access to paint a picture of passport holders' travel freedom and is updated regularly.

Travelers can see how their passport compares to other passports, why it has the level of access it does, and which additional passports would improve their mobility. Having visa-free access to countries makes things easier for jet-setting citizens, as they don't have to go through a long or expensive application process to visit other countries. Japan has the most freedom with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 191. This marks the third consecutive year that it has held the top spot, either alone or jointly with Singapore, which now comes in second place with a score of 190.

A table covered with items: a camera, passport with two US dollars sticking out, a notebook and a pen, sunglasses, and headphones
The most powerful passports for visa-free access have been revealed © boonchai wedmakawand/Getty Images

Without taking temporary restrictions into account, Germany and South Korea come in third place in the rankings on 189, while Luxembourg, Finland, Italy and Spain come in fourth place on 188. The rest of the top ten includes Denmark and Austria in fifth place on 187, with five countries - Sweden, France, Portugal, The Netherlands and Ireland in sixth place on 186. The US, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, New Zealand come seventh on 185, Greece, Malta, Czech Republic, and Australia are in eighth place on 184, while Canada and Hungary are in ninth and tenth place with 183 and 181, respectively.

Henley & Partners say that the latest ranking provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary upheaval that characterized 2020. “Just a year ago all indications were that the rates of global mobility would continue to rise, that travel freedom would increase, and that holders of powerful passports would enjoy more access than ever before," says its chairman, Dr. Christian H. Kaelin. "The global lockdown negated these glowing projections, and as restrictions begin to lift, the results from the latest index are a reminder of what passport power really means in a world upended by the pandemic.”

See the full ranking and check out how your own passport fares here.

This article was originally published on 8 July, 2019 and last updated on 7 January, 2021. 

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This article was first published August 2019 and updated January 2021

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