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Thursday 21 June 2018

Revealed: The world's most powerful passports for 2018 (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

German citizens travel with the most powerful passport on the planet, according to the annual Henley Passport Index.

The 2018 Index sees Germany retain its top spot for the fifth year running, while Ireland moves up one place from joint sixth to joint fifth.

The ranking by Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and planning firm, takes into account how many countries can be visited 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 (2018)

  1. Germany (177 countries can be visited without a visa)
  2. Singapore (176)
  3. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, UK (175)
  4. Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland (174)
  5. Ireland, South Korea, Portugal, United States (173)
  6. Canada (172)
  7. Australia, Greece, New Zealand (171)
  8. Czech Republic, Iceland (170)
  9. Malta (169)
  10. Hungary (168)

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

Brexit has led to a surge in Irish passport applications. Photo Illustration by Mark Winter/Corbis via Getty Images
Brexit has led to a surge in Irish passport applications. Photo Illustration by Mark Winter/Corbis via Getty Images

Brexit is one reason for the surge - some 20pc of applications received last year were from Irish citizens in Northern Ireland or Great Britain.

“Across the economic spectrum, individuals want to transcend the constraints imposed on them by their country of origin and access business, financial, career and lifestyle opportunities on a global scale," said Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners.

However, he said a global mobility divide exists.

“We are also seeing a growing tendency towards a more isolationist, immigration-hostile policy among traditional migrant-receiving countries such as the US, and 2018 will bring further uncertainty, with the UK still in the grip of ongoing Brexit negotiations."

The world's least powerful passports include Afghanistan (just 24 countries can be visited without a visa), Iraq (27) and Syria (28).

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