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German citizens currently enjoy visa-free access to 177 countries, making their passport the most powerful in the world, according to the 2018 edition of the Henley Passport Index.
Singapore ranks 2nd globally, with visa-free access to 176 countries, while eight countries — Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the UK — share 3rd place, offering access to 175 countries. Ranking jointly 4th on the index, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain all provide visa-free access to 174 countries.
The US secured 5th place, improving its visa-free score to 173 countries in 2018. The Russian Federation climbed three places to 48th position while China showed the most growth in North Asia over the past year, moving up 10 places to rank 75th globally.
For the second year in a row, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan all sit at the bottom of the Henley Passport Index, each able to access 30 or fewer countries visa-free.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says the need for visa-free access is greater than ever. “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. The Henley Passport Index shows individuals where they lie on the spectrum of global mobility, revealing the strength their passport has in relation to others.”
The biggest movers on this year’s index were Georgia and Ukraine, having completed the visa‑liberalization process with the EU in 2017, gaining access to an additional 30 and 32 new countries, respectively.
The annual Henley Passport Index has historic data spanning 13 years and is the only one of its kind based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.