Singapore retains crown as the world's most powerful passport

It shares first place with Japan with visa-free access to 189 countries.

Singapore and Japan held on to the top spot on the Henley Passport Index, having a visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 countries.

The latest ranking of passport power and global mobility is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and marked the culmination of an 18-month long winning streak for Japan, after it unseated Germany from its long-held first position at the beginning of 2018. Singapore meanwhile has held either first or second position since January 2018.

Falling from the first place spot it shared with Japan and Singapore in the last quarter, South Korea now sits in second place on the index along with Finland and Germany, with citizens of all three countries able to access 187 destinations around the world without a prior visa.

According to Dominic Volek, managing partner of Henley & Partners Singapore and head of Southeast Asia, globally-mobile entrepreneurs and investors across Asia are increasingly considering an alternative residence or citizenship, with such programs becoming more sought after.

“For someone with a weak passport, the acquisition of a passport from a country like Malta for example, gives its holders visa-free access to 182 destinations around the world and can be genuinely life-changing,” he explained, adding that the benefits of this are not one-sided. “Since the introduction of its citizenship-by-investment program, Malta has attracted significant foreign direct investment, while dramatically reducing its overall debt levels. It is now one of the most financially-dynamic countries in the EU, with the lives of all its citizens greatly improved.”

Following behind Finland and Germany are Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg in joint third place on the index, each with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 186, whilst France, Spain, and Sweden are in joint fourth place, each with a score of 185. The UK and US share sixth place with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 183.

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