Citizens of Singapore now hold the world's most powerful passport. The Passport Index, created by the advisory firm Arton Capital, established in their annual report that Singapore, not Germany, is the country with the strongest passport. This is the first time that an Asian country leads the Passport Index.
Singapore nationals can travel to 159 countries without a visa. Following Paraguay's decision to allow Singaporeans to travel to the country without a visa for short-term stays of up to 30 days, Singapore surpassed other leading nations.
Philippe May, Arton Capital's Managing director in Singapore, told CNN that, "Singapore has constantly increased its passport strength since it became independent in 1965." Singapore has a unique foreign policy and "excellent diplomacy". May also said that "Unlike Schengen member countries, Singapore decides alone who to grant visa-free access."
While some passports rise and become stronger, other's fall. Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. passport has begun to drop. The United States has lost its visa-free status with Turkey and the Central African Republic. Afghanistan has the world's weakest passport because its citizens can only enter 22 countries without a visa.
How are Passports Ranked?
Arton Capital is a global advisory for residence and citizenship solutions and the Passport Index is a useful interactive online tool where you can find information about passports from around the globe. Countries are ranked based on the number of visa-free nations they can visit. Armand Arton, the founder and president of Arton Capital, said that "Visa-free global mobility has become an important factor in today's world". People are beginning to invest a lot of money and resources in a second passport to have better opportunities for themselves and for their families.
The Passport Index evaluated 193 United Nations member countries and six territories. Historically, the Top 10 most powerful countries in the world have been European. Slowly, Asian nations are beginning to reach the top ranks. Japan and Malaysia are amongst the Top 20.
The current Top 10 Passport Power Ranking is as follows:
- Sweden, South Korea
- Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, Japan, United Kingdom
- Luxemburg, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Portugal
- Malaysia, Ireland, Canada, United States of America
- Australia, Greece, New Zealand
- Malta, Czech Republic, Iceland
- Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia
There are other firms or companies that have ranked passports. For example, Henly & Partners takes into account the number of countries that can be visited without applying for a visa.
Unfortunately, there's a great disparity in regards to travel freedom between countries. The top countries in the ranking do not include any Latin American or African nation. This matters because these countries face more limitations and have difficulties when it comes to travel. They tend to face stricter screenings.
According to Dr Christian H. Kälin, chairman of Henley & Partners, "Generally, visa requirements are a reflection of a country's relationship with others, and take into account diplomatic relationships between countries, reciprocal visa arrangements, security risks, and the dangers of visa and immigration regulation violations." The rank of your passport reflects the diplomatic strenght of your country.