The New Zealand passport has risen to the top spot in the Passport Index, an interactive passport ranking tool that compares the access granted by the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories.

As a real-time global ranking of the world’s passports, it is updated as frequently as new visa waivers and changes are implemented. Invented and empowered by Arton Capital, it uses a three-tier method to determine the individual rank of each passport. Various factors influence the ranking, including a mobility score, visa requirements, electronic travel authorization and a world openness score.

The travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a shake-up in visa-free travel. New Zealand is now at the top of the passport index with visa-free access or visa on entry to 128 countries. Japan is in second place with a score of 128, alongside Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea and Australia. Sweden, Belgium, France, Finland, Italy and Spain come in third place with a score of 127.

New Zealand passport.jpg
New Zealand's passport is the most powerful in the world © Aaftab Sheikh/Getty Images

European countries make up the majority of the top 10 list, as most retain access to the Schengen 'free movement' zone with few COVID-19 restrictions.

How coronavirus has impacted the power of your passport

The US currently ranks in 21st place on the passport rankings, with a score of 92. To see the full list, please go to the Passport Index website here, and you can also check out the fascinating world of passports, explore their designs and sort them by country, region and even by color.

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