Preference Center

We use cookies and similar technologies to collect device data and usage information for analytics, measuring the effectiveness of ads, personalizing content, and tailored advertising. By clicking “Accept”, you agree to such purposes and the sharing of your data with our partners. To learn more, CLICK HERE. To change your preferences at any time, click the “Do not Sell my Personal Information” link in the footer of this page.

World's most powerful passports: Global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners has released its quarterly report on the world's most desirable passports. Click on to find out which passport offers the most access in 2021.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
No.10: The citizens of Hungary (its capital, Budapest, is pictured) enjoy visa-free access to 184 destinations. The index does not take current temporary travel restrictions into account.
Courtesy Shutterstock
No. 9: Canadian and Australian citizens have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 185 destinations.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
No. 8: Citizens of Norway, Greece, Malta and the Czech Republic (its capital, Prague, is pictured) have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
No. 7: Holders of passports from the United States (pictured), the United Kingdom, Switzerland, New Zealand and Belgium find doors open to them in 187 jurisdictions.
Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images
No.6: Swedish passport holders have visa-free access to 188 countries, earning it the sixth spot on the Passport Index, alongside France, Portugal, Netherlands and Ireland.
RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images
No.5: Joint fifth on the list, with access to 189 destinations, are Denmark (whose nationals are pictured) and Austria.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images
No. 4: Pictured is the crossing between Finland and Russia in the Finnish border town of Imatra. Finland ranks fourth on the list of "best passports," while the Russian Federation ranks 48th. Italy, Spain and Luxembourg join Finland in fourth place, with citizens getting visa-free access to 190 countries.
SARI GUSTAFSSON/AFP/Getty Images
No. 3: Germany (pictured) offers its citizens visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 191 countries, as does South Korea.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
2. Singapore: Singapore holds the 2nd place spot on the index. It offers visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 192 jurisdictions.
AFP/AFP/Getty Images
No.1: Japan holds the top place for 2021. With this little document, 193 jurisdictions will welcome its holder to cross their borders.
TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

The world's most powerful passports for 2021

(CNN) — The global gap in travel freedoms has never been wider, says the latest report by London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners.
The firm's Henley Passport Index, based on exclusive data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has been regularly monitoring the world's most travel-friendly passports since 2006.
It says that increasing travel barriers that have been introduced over the past 18 months of the Covid pandemic have resulted in the widest global mobility gap in the index's 16-year history.
The index doesn't take temporary restrictions into account, so leaving actual current travel access aside, holders of the passports at the top of its ranking -- Japan and Singapore -- are able, in theory, to travel visa-free to 192 destinations.
That's 166 more destinations than Afghan nationals, who sit at the bottom of the index of 199 passports, and can access just 26 countries without requiring a visa in advance.

Europe dominates

Further down the top 10, the rankings remains virtually unchanged as we enter the final quarter of 2021. South Korea is tied with Germany in second place (with a score of 190) and Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain are all together in third place (with a score of 189).
EU countries dominate the top of the list as usual, with Austria and Denmark in fourth place and France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden in fifth place.
New Zealand, which announced this week that it was moving away from its Covid-19 elimination strategy in favor of a vaccine certificate system, is in sixth place alongside Belgium and Switzerland.
The United States and the United Kingdom, which held the top spot together back in 2014, are now more modestly placed in the rankings. They are at No. 7, alongside the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta and Norway, with visa-free or visa-on-demand access to 185 destinations.
Australia and Canada are in eighth place, Hungary is ninth, and Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have together broken into the No.10 spot, with a score of 182.
Germany has the highest-ranking European passport.
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

'Growing inequalities'

The Henley & Partners report points to "growing inequalities" and makes the suggestion that "restrictive policies initially introduced to contain the spread of Covid-19 are now being conveniently applied to contain mobility from the global south."
Mehari Taddele Maru, a fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies, comments in the report that, "The global north has been enforcing aggressive migration containment strategies for some time now through the rigid application of border controls, undermining the movement of persons in various ways.
"Covid-19-associated travel restrictions are new additions to the toolbox of migration containment instruments employed by the global north to curb mobility from the global south."
Christian H. Kaelin, chair of Henley & Partners and creator of the passport index concept, says that these decisions could have far-reaching consequences.
"If we want to restart the global economy, it is critical that developed nations encourage inward migration flows, as opposed to persisting with outmoded restrictions," he says. "Resourceful countries need to futureproof their economies by attracting and welcoming the upcoming generation."

The best passports to hold in 2021 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (192 destinations)
2. Germany, South Korea (190)
3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (189)
4. Austria, Denmark (188)
5. France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden (187)
6. Belgium, New Zealand, Switzerland (186)
7. Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Norway, United Kingdom, United States (185)
8. Australia, Canada (184)
9. Hungary (183)
10. Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia (182)

The worst passports to hold

Several countries around the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to fewer than 40 countries. These include:
109. North Korea (39 destinations)
110. Nepal and Palestinian territories (37)
111. Somalia (34)
112. Yemen (33)
113. Pakistan (31)
114. Syria (29)
115. Iraq (28)
116. Afghanistan (26)

Other indexes

Henley & Partner's list is one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.
The Henley Passport Index covers 227 travel destinations. It is updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.
Arton Capital's Passport Index takes into consideration the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories -- ROC Taiwan, Macau (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican. Territories annexed to other countries are excluded.
Its late-2021 index has the United Arab Emirates in in the top spot, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 152.
Read more
More from CNN Travel