The annual ranking is created by Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and residence advisory firm, and based on data from the International Air Transport Association. It tracks the top passports for travellers who want to avoid the red tape and cost of visas around the world.
Japan moved into the top spot after gaining visa-free access to Myanmar this month, and passport holders now have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations around the world, beating out Singapore at 189. The countries had previously been tied for first back in February when Uzbekistan eased its visa rules, pushing Germany out of the top spot for the first time since 2014. Germany is now ranked third, tying with South Korea and France.
With access to 186 destinations, the US and UK went down one spot to fifth, as they did not gain visa-free access to any new countries in 2018. According to the report, “with stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, it seems increasingly unlikely that the US and the UK will regain the number one spot they jointly held in 2015.”
The report also notes that one of the quickest climbs up the list has been the UAE, which was ranked in 62nd place in 2006 and now sits in 21st place, and citizens now hold the top passport in the Middle East region. However, there is one spot that could also be poised to make gains; Henley & Partners predicts that the next place to climb the list may be Kosovo, which met the criteria for visa-liberalization with the European Union in July and is now in discussions with the European Council.
Want to see where your passport ranks? Check out the full list here.
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