Japan, Singapore and South Korea have the world's most powerful passports

Pedro Gonçalves
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Japan, Singapore and South Korea have the world's most powerful passports

In a demonstration of Asia's growing power and influence on the world stage, Japan, Singapore and South Korea now hold joint top spot on the Henley Passport Index.

Following closely behind is Germany with a score of 188, in second place, after it received a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan. The country previously shared third place with France.

Denmark, Finland, France, Italy and Sweden are sharing the 3rd place with a score of 187. Luxembourg and Spain came in 4th, then Britain as 5th, and the United States 6th. Both countries last held joint top spot in 2015.

The current strength of Asian passports is emblematic of this progressive shift, and it seems certain that more and more countries will follow suit in order to benefit from global flows of talent and capital"

Afghanistan and Iraq remain at the bottom of the ranking with a score of just 30, a position one or both countries have occupied throughout the index's 14-year history. China's now sits in 67th spot, having moved up 12 places since 2009.

"With some notable exceptions, there is a growing acknowledgment that policies of engagement, collaboration, and openness yield the greatest results, for both individual nations and the global community as a whole. The current strength of Asian passports is emblematic of this progressive shift, and it seems certain that more and more countries will follow suit in order to benefit from global flows of talent and capital," Henley & Partners chairman Christian H. Kälin commented as he attributes Asia's dominance on the index to a worldwide shift towards more open policies.

The UAE continues its upward trajectory and is now just one spot away from entry into the index's top 20. After the recent formalisation of a mutual visa-waiver agreement signed with Russia, UAE passport holders are now able to access 165 destinations without a prior visa.

The Henley Passport Index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and bases its rankings on how many countries a passport entitles a traveller to enter without having to pre-apply for a visa.