Iraq, Afghanistan the worst passports for travel, Japan the best: Index

Iraq, Afghanistan the worst passports for travel, Japan the best: Index

The statistics of the Henley Passport Index are based on data released by the Canadian-based International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Singapore had been the top dog, but thanks to a new arrangement with Myanmar, Japan now leads with 190 visa-free countries.

In the latest reshuffling of the Henley Passport Index, which is updated in real-time, Japan pushed Singapore down to second spot, and Germany to third.

Last year, a ranking of passports by worldwide global financial advisory firm Arton Capital showed that the Philippine passport is moderately weak, with its holders having visa-free access to only 61 countries.

Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, and the United States complete the 5th spot with visa-free access to 186 destinations.

Passports can enable global travel but visas are required to visit numerous countries, which can be both expensive and hard to gain.

The two countries were previously tied for the top spot.

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However, South Africa still ranks 3rd in Africa, after the Seychelles (25th strongest passport in the world, with 152 destinations) and Mauritius (31st strongest passport in the world, with 146 destinations).

Russia has fallen to 47th position, despite having received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver for Russian nationals.

"China and the UAE exemplify this kind of progress, with both states among the highest overall climbers compared to 2017, purely as a result of the strong relationships they have built with partner countries around the world". Thailand ended up at No.68 and China at No.71, with at the bottom Afghanistan and Iraq, with only 30 visa waivers each, the Liberty Times reported.

Japan has overtaken Singapore in terms of the most powerful passport.

Looking ahead, the most dramatic climb on the Henley Passport Index might come from Kosovo, which officially met all the criteria for visa-liberalization with the EU in July and is now in discussions with the European Council. Newcomer Moldova, due to launch its CBI program in November, climbed 20 places since 2008. The three countries offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 188 countries.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says countries with citizenship-by-investment programs all fall within the top 50 of the index.

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