Thursday 19 September 2019

Revealed: The world's most powerful passports (and where Ireland ranks)

2018 Henley Passport Index

Passport and boarding passes. File photo (Deposit)
Passport and boarding passes. File photo (Deposit)
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Japan has supplanted Germany as having the world's most powerful passport, according to the latest live ranking by Henley & Partners.

Last January, the 2018 Passport Index listed German passports as the world's most powerful, while Ireland moved up one place from joint sixth to joint fifth.

The latest adjustments see Japan jump to first place, while Ireland retains fifth position along with Belgium, Canada, Denmark and Switzerland.

Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and planning firm, compiles its ranking based on the number of countries passport-holders can visit without applying for a visa.

The firm ranks 199 countries using what it says is exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and extensive in-house research.

The world's most powerful passports (May, 2018)

  1. Japan (189 countries can be visited without a visa)
  2. Germany, Singapore (188)
  3. Finland, France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Sweden (187)
  4. Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, UK, USA (186)
  5. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland (185)
  6. Greece, Australia (185)
  7. Czech Republic, Malta, New Zealand (182)
  8. Iceland (181)
  9. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia (180)
  10. Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia (179)

Ireland's rise this January came after a record number of its passports were issued in 2017 - 779,000, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Japan is the first country to hit a record score of 189, while the UAE was one of the fastest movers (23), with its passport-holders gaining access to eight new countries - including Ireland - in 2018 alone.

The world's least powerful passports include Iraq and Afghanistan (just 30 countries can be visited without a visa), as well as Somalia and Syria (32).

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