In a significant shift, Singapore has surpassed Japan to claim the top position in the global passport rankings, solidifying its status as the most powerful passport in the world.

Japan has been dethroned from its position as the world’s most powerful passport, with Singapore taking the lead in the latest Henley Passport Index.

According to the index, Singaporeans now enjoy visa-free entry to an impressive 192 destinations, surpassing all other countries.

Singapore previously held the top spot in 2021 but lost it to Japan the following year.

Germany, Italy, and Spain share second place, as their passport holders can access 190 destinations without a visa.

Japan, which held the top ranking for four out of the last five years, now occupies the third position alongside France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, and South Korea, with access to 189 destinations.

The United States, once the top-ranking passport in 2014, has fallen to eighth place, its lowest position to date.

On the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan has the least powerful passport, providing visa-free access to only 27 destinations. Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, and Iraq follow closely behind in terms of restricted access.

Henley & Partners, a consultancy specializing in immigration based in London, compiles an annual ranking by utilizing data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

This ranking evaluates countries based on the number of destinations their citizens can travel to without requiring a visa.

According to Greg Lindsay, an executive at Cornell Tech, the United States has experienced a consistent decline in this ranking over the past decade, potentially attributed to its lack of visa reciprocity.

Lindsay explained this phenomenon by stating, “The reason behind the US’s drop in the rankings is both straightforward and perplexing: the country simply isn’t making an effort.”

Lindsay further analyzed the situation by highlighting that among the 34 countries ranked between 1 and 10, the United States has exhibited the smallest increase in scores on the Henley Passport Index between 2013 and 2023.

During this period, the US only gained access to an additional 12 countries. In contrast, Singapore witnessed a significant surge, with 25 more countries added to its visa-free travel list.

This noteworthy improvement propelled Singapore’s ranking upward by five positions, securing its position as the top-ranked country in the index.

By Chinedu

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