The most powerful passports in the world for 2021

(CNN) – The gap is widening between the world’s north and south when it comes to travel freedoms, according to the first 2022 report from London-based citizenship and global residency consultancy Henley & Partners.

The firm Henley Passport Index, based on proprietary data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has been monitoring the world’s most user-friendly passports regularly since 2006.

It says the growing barriers to travel that were introduced during the Covid pandemic have resulted in the largest global mobility gap in the index’s 16-year history.

The index does not take into account temporary restrictions, so leaving out current travel access, passport holders at the top of its rankings – Japan and Singapore – can, in theory, travel visa-free to 192 destinations. . .

That’s 166 more destinations than Afghan nationals, which sit at the bottom of the 199 passport index, and can only access 26 countries without needing a visa in advance.

Europe dominates

Further in the top 10, the ranking remains virtually unchanged as we enter the first quarter of 2022. South Korea is tied with Germany for second (with a score of 190) and Finland, Italy. , Luxembourg and Spain are all together in third place. (with a score of 189).

EU countries dominate at the top of the list as usual, with France, the Netherlands and Sweden climbing one place to join Austria and Denmark in fourth place (with a score of 188) . Ireland and Portugal are in fifth place (with a score of 187).

The US and UK, which together held first place in 2014, have regained some ground. They moved up from one rank to sixth place, alongside four other nations with a history of isolationism or neutrality: Switzerland, Norway, Belgium and New Zealand.

At # 7 we have Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Greece and Malta. Eastern European countries make up the remainder of the top 10. Hungary and Poland climbed to eighth place, Lithuania and Slovakia climbed to No. 9, and Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia. are in tenth position.

Germany has the highest ranked European passport.

Alex Grimm / Getty Images

Positive internal migration

The latest report notes that the appearance at the end of last year of the Omicron variant highlighted a growing gap in international mobility between rich and poor countries, highlighting the severe restrictions introduced against predominantly African nations. which UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described as akin to “travel apartheid”.

Aside from the pandemic, overall levels of travel freedom have increased dramatically over the past two decades. The Henley Passport Index in 2006 found that an individual could, on average, visit 57 countries without needing to obtain a visa in advance. Today that number is 107 – almost double.

However, these new freedoms are mainly enjoyed by Europe, North America, and wealthier Asian countries – passport holders from countries like Angola, Cameroon, and Laos can only enter around 50. between them.

Christian H. Kaelin, president of Henley & Partners and creator of the passport index concept, says opening up migration channels will be crucial for post-pandemic recovery. “Passports and visas are among the most important instruments impacting social inequalities in the world, as they determine the opportunities for global mobility,” he said. “The borders within which we are born and the documents we are entitled to hold are no less arbitrary than our skin color. Richer states must encourage positive internal migration in order to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources around the world. . “

The best passports to hold in 2022 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (192 destinations)

2. Germany, South Korea (190)

3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (189)

4. Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Sweden (188)

5. Ireland, Portugal (187)

6. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (186)

7. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185)

8. Poland, Hungary (183)

9. Lithuania, Slovakia (182)

10. Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia (181)

The worst passports to hold

Several countries in the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to less than 40 countries. These include:

104. North Korea (39 destinations)

105. Nepal and Palestinian territories (37)

106. Somalia (34)

107. Yemen (33)

108. Pakistan (31)

109. Syria (29)

110. Iraq (28)

111. Afghanistan (26)

Other clues

The Henley & Partner List is one of several indexes created by financial companies to rank global passports based on the access they provide to their citizens.

The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports based on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is updated in real time throughout the year as visa policy changes come into effect.

Arton Capital’s Passport index takes into account the passports of 193 member countries of the United Nations and six territories – ROC Taiwan, Macao (SAR of China), Hong Kong (SAR of China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and Vatican. Territories annexed to other countries are excluded.

Its 2022 index puts the United Arab Emirates in the lead, with a visa-free / visa-on-arrival score of 160.

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