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Top 10 Most Powerful Passports in the World

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
This little booklet is your ticket to tour the planet. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Powerful Passports in the World. For this list, we’re looking at passports from around the globe that enable travellers to move between countries with the fewest limitations. To put this list together, we looked at the two big authorities on passports. First, the Henley Passport Index, which assigns one point to a passport for every country that can be entered without the need for a visa or which offers a visa-on-arrival or similar arrangement. Second, the Passport Index, which also takes into account the number of visa-free and visa-on-arrival countries accessible with each passport.
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Top 10 Most Powerful Passports in the World


This little booklet is your ticket to tour the planet. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Powerful Passports in the World.


For this list, we’re looking at passports from around the globe that enable travellers to move between countries with the fewest limitations. To put this list together, we looked at the two big authorities on passports. First, the Henley Passport Index, which assigns one point to a passport for every country that can be entered without the need for a visa or which offers a visa-on-arrival or similar arrangement. Second, the Passport Index, which also takes into account the number of visa-free and visa-on-arrival countries accessible with each passport.





#10: Norway

The Henley Passport Index gives Norway a score of 186 points. As further elaborated on by Passport Index, this Nordic country’s passport gives travellers the ability to enter 122 countries without having to worry about a visa. There are then another 42 countries where a visa or some equivalent can be acquired on arrival. Clearly, the Norwegian people enjoy this freedom, as they reportedly spend billions on travel and in 2017 set new records, with 57% percent of the country’s population responding that they would be traveling abroad that summer. So where do Norwegians like to go with so many options available? Spain has become the hottest destination, surpassing Denmark, though Portugal is also increasingly popular.



#9: Italy

We know what you’re thinking… who would ever want to leave Italy? Well, though many of us have surely fantasized about staying there forever when we visit, we understand that permanent residents want to explore the world just like the rest of us, regardless of how spectacular their country is. Good thing for Italian passport holders, that little booklet with their name on it gives them access to a huge number of countries. The Henley Passport Index gives an Italian passport a score of 187; and according to Passport Index, holders can enter 125 countries passport free, and another 39 with visa-on-arrival. Funny enough, a popular destination Italians during the summer is . . . the aforementioned Norway !






#8: Finland

Though it gets the same score as Italy from the Henley Passport Index, Finland hedges out Italy because one of Italy’s “visa on arrival” destinations, Laos, is a visa-free one for Finns. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s a difference nonetheless. And really… when you take a trip to beautiful Laos, wouldn’t you rather it be as hassle-free as possible? Finnish passport holders are big on cruises, usually to nearby countries like Sweden

and Estonia. Great Britain has also become increasingly popular. The Finnish people are considered to among the most travelled in the world, averaging 7.5 trips per year according to a 2014 publication by Trimetric. Finnish passport holders… we envy you.



#7: Sweden

Sweden might be a popular destination for the Finnish people, but we’re surprised that there are any Swedes there to greet them considering the travel opportunities available to Swedish passport holders. In terms of its placement on the Henley Index, Sweden ties with Italy and Finland at a score of 187. It also ties with the latter on the Passport Index, with a split score of 126 visa-free countries and 38 visa-on-arrival. So technically, Sweden and Finland have the same passport power. We opted to give Sweden the higher spot however, because Swedish passport holders seem to embrace it more by travelling further from home and to more varied destinations like Spain , Thailand, the United States, Greece and beyond.



#6: South Korea

Rarely, if ever, have two neighbouring countries been so fundamentally different than South Korea and North Korea. Not only are North Koreans barred from travelling abroad except under special circumstances, but their movement is also limited within the country itself. North Korean passports are rarely issued. By contrast, a South Korean passport is one of the most powerful in the world. It should be noted that South Korea boasts 122 visa-free destinations and 142 visa-on-arrivals, which is weaker ratio than our last few entries. However, the Henley Index gives it an overall score of 188, which is the highest we’ve seen to date. South Korean passports holders usually wield this power by travelling throughout Southeast Asia .



#5: France

With an overall Henley Index score of 188 and, according to the Passport Index, 125 visa free and 39 visa on arrival countries, the power of a French passport is undeniable. Interestingly enough, France is the single most-visited country in the world, boasting nearly 87 million tourists annually, as last tallied in 2017. As such, you might think that French passports holders would already have everything a traveller could ask for in their own backyard. And you’d be right! Many French citizens travel within their own country on holiday. However, when they do wish to flex the power of that passport, they often do so by travelling to the United States, Asia, and, for younger budget-minded passport holders, Eastern Europe.




#4: Denmark

The Danes do many things well. The country has numerous Michelin-starred restaurants, and its people are consistently ranked among the happiest on the planet. Apparently, international relations is another one of their strong suits - at least if their passport power is any indication. Owners of a Danish passport can visit 126 countries passport visa-free and another 38 with visas on arrival. The Henley index gives it a score of 187. So, with so much of the world accessible, and significant vacation days from workplaces, where do the Danish people go ? Italy consistently ranks highly, as do Germany and Spain. Whatever the destination, Danes clearly embrace their passport, with an estimated 81% of Danes travelling at least 4 weeks per year.




#3: Germany

Germany scores 188 on the Henley Index. According to the Passport Index, 126 countries can be visited visa-free while another 39 can be visited with visas-on-arrival. With so much mobility, the German passport has certainly earned its spot on the podium. In terms of being a tourist destination, Germany cracks the top 10 most-visited countries in the world with roughly 37.5 million visitors annually. But where do Germans go when it’s their turn to get away? Well, like the French, they enjoy travelling within their own country. But they also like to head to Spain for the beaches, as well as Turkey, Italy and Croatia.




#2: Japan

Boasting a staggering score of 190, the Japanese passport is the highest rated one on the Henley Index. Depending on the methodology, it arguably gives its holders access to the largest number of countries in the world, either visa-free or via visa-on-arrival. However, the greatest strength of a passport is when it allows its owner to enter a country without any sort of visa, and it’s in this regard that Japan loses some points. According the Passport Index, the ratio of visa-free (122) to visa-on-arrival (41) is weaker than other countries. Nonetheless, this passport definitely deserves a spot in the top 2, and the Japanese appropriately use it to travel all across the globe.




#1: Singapore

This city-state and island nation may only be home to about 5.5 million residents and 3.5 million citizens, but passport holders who call this country home have arguably the greatest freedom of movement in the world. In terms of the Henley Index, it’s second to Japan only by one point with a score of 189, but its ranking on the Passport Index more than makes up for it. While Japan has a ratio of 122 to 41, the Singaporean passport gives visa-free access to a whopping 127 countries — more than any other passport. Singaporeans tend to travel regularly and consistently throughout Asia, but are increasingly drawn towards “unconventional experiences” in destinations like North Korea and Uzbekistan.





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