SINGAPORE: The 2024 Henley Passport Index, released on Wednesday (10 Jan), showed an unprecedented six countries sharing the top spot for the world’s most powerful passport. Two of the countries—Singapore and Japan— are from Asia, and four are from Europe, namely France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

The citizens of these countries are allowed to visit 194 destinations out of 227 visa-free says the list, which gathers exclusive and official data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The index noted that Japan and Singapore have dominated the top of the index over the past five years. In 2023, Singapore ousted Japan to take the top spot on the Henley Passport Index, which has been ranking the power of different nations’ passports for nearly two decades.

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“The average number of destinations travelers are able to access visa-free has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024. However, as we enter the new year, the top-ranked countries are now able to travel to a staggering 166 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the ranking with access to just 28 countries without a visa,” says the Chairman of Henley & Partners, D. Christian H Kaelin.

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Dr Kaelin also noted that the general trend over the past 19 years, since Henley and Partners started the ranking, has been toward more travel freedom for citizens of different countries.

Ranking second on the list are South Korea, Finland, and Sweden, whose citizens may travel without a visa to 193 destinations. In third place are Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands (visa-free to 192 destinations). The United Kingdom takes fourth place (191 destinations) together with Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, and Portugal; followed by Australia and New Zealand (189 destinations) and the United States (188 destinations).

Notably, 10 years ago, the UK and the US shared first place on the Index.

This year, United Arab Emirates made the biggest of 44 spots and is now in 11th place, as its citizens may visit 183 destinations without a prior visa.

In December, the Singapore passport ranked second in latest list of world’s most powerful passports.  VisaGuide.World ranked Spain’s passport in pole position, followed by Singapore, Germany, Italy, and France.

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VisaGuide.World’s criteria for evaluation include visa-free access, the number of countries accessible, and various additional benefits such as electronic travel authorization, visa on arrival, e-visa, and passport-free travel. /TISG

Read also: Singapore passport ranks second in latest list of world’s most powerful passports