The world’s most powerful passports for 2024 are revealed

The Henley Passport Index for 2024 has been released, revealing the most powerful passports in the world. This year’s rankings show a significant shake-up, with six nations sharing the top spot for the first time ever. The index, which is based on data from the International Air Transport Association, evaluates 199 national passports based on the number of visa-free destinations they provide access to.

The scoring system is as follows: a passport is awarded a value of 1 if no visa is required or if a visa can be obtained on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority. On the other hand, a passport receives a value of 0 if a visa is required or if the passport holder needs to obtain a government-approved e-visa before departure or pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival.

In recent years, the rankings have remained relatively stable, with Japan holding the top spot for five consecutive years. However, this year, Japan is joined by France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, and Spain in the first position. Each of these nations’ passports allows visa-free access to 194 destinations out of 227 worldwide.

Just missing out on the top spot are South Korea, Finland, and Sweden, which provide access to 193 destinations without visa requirements. The United States holds steady in seventh place, with access to 188 destinations visa-free. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has risen two places in the ranking to claim the fourth spot, alongside Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, and Portugal, each granting access to 191 nations.

The rankings also show significant changes over the past decade. The United Arab Emirates has experienced the most significant climb, adding 106 destinations to its score since 2014 and moving up 44 places to 11th place. Ukraine and China have also made impressive gains, each rising 21 places over the last ten years. Ukraine now sits at 32nd place with 148 visa-free destinations, while China is in 62nd place with 85 destinations. In contrast, Russia’s ranking has remained relatively stagnant despite adding 24 new visa-free destinations in the past decade, currently sitting at 51st place.

On the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan has the least powerful passport, providing visa-free access to only 28 destinations.

Dr. Christian H. Kalin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, noted that the average number of visa-free destinations has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024. However, the top-ranked countries now have access to a staggering 166 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan, which ranks at the bottom of the list.

Here are the top ten most powerful passports for 2024:

1. France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain (194)
2. Finland, South Korea, Sweden (193)
3. Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands (192)
4. Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, U.K. (191)
5. Greece, Malta, Switzerland (190)
6. Australia, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Poland (189)
7. Canada, Hungary, U.S. (188)
8. Estonia, Lithuania (187)
9. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (186)
10. Iceland (185)

And the ten least powerful passports for 2024:

1. Afghanistan (28)
2. Syria (29)
3. Iraq (31)
4. Pakistan (34)
5. Yemen (35)
6. Somalia (36)
7. Libya, Nepal, Palestinian Territories (40)
8. Bangladesh, North Korea (42)
9. Eritrea, Sri Lanka (43)
10. Iran, Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan (45)

While the United States did not break into the top five, its passport still allows access to a respectable 188 nations visa-free. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, moved up in the rankings this year, securing a spot in the top five and granting visa-free travel to 191 countries.

In conclusion, the Henley Passport Index for 2024 shows a significant shift in rankings, with six nations sharing the top spot. The index highlights the increasing accessibility of visa-free travel, with the average number of destinations nearly doubling over the past decade. However, there is still a substantial disparity between the most and least powerful passports, with Afghanistan offering access to just 28 countries visa-free.

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