Passport Power Index Reveals Widening Gap in Travel Freedom

The Passport Index, a measure of how easy it is to cross borders in the world’s largest countries, has revealed that travel freedom is getting worse around the globe. The top 10 most traveled countries are all among the most restrictive, with passport requirements often including not only visa and citizenship but also other forms of identification like utility bills or bank statements.

The global mobility trends 2021 is a report that was released by Passport Power Index. The report reveals that the gap in travel freedom has widened, with North America and Europe leading the way.

As several of the nations with the most powerful travel papers have implemented the most severe COVID-19-related travel restrictions, the new Henley Passport Index shows the widest-ever disparity in travel freedom.

According to Henley & Partners’ index, which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and ranks the world’s passports by the number of destinations their holders can visit without a visa, Japan continues to have the most powerful passport, tying Singapore with visa-free access to 192 countries worldwide.


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Germany and South Korea are tied for second place (190), with Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain following closely behind (189). Europe is well-represented at the top, with Austria and Denmark tied for the fourth-most powerful travel document (188), barely beating out France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden (187). Meanwhile, Belgium, New Zealand, and Switzerland are tied for sixth place (186).

The United States shares the seventh-most powerful passport in the world with the United Kingdom and four other nations—the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, and Norway—offering visa-free travel to as many as 185 countries.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, has the weakest passport in the world, with visa-free travel to just 26 countries. Iraq (28), Syria (29), Pakistan (31) and Yemen (33) have the least powerful passports in the world.

Many countries with lower-ranking passports have relaxed border restrictions more than 18 months into the epidemic without receiving reciprocation, according to Henley & Partners, creating in a large gap in travel freedom. Japan, for example, is presently restricted to virtually all foreign people, while Germany has entrance restrictions on over 100 nations. Egypt, on the other hand, is ranked 97th in the world, with visa-free access to just 51 countries, despite the fact that it presently has no travel restrictions. Kenya, rated 77th in Africa, has no restrictions in place, despite the fact that its passport holders have visa-free access to just 72 countries.

“It is essential that industrialized countries promote inbound migration flows, rather than continuing with outdated limitations, if we want to restart the global economy,” stated Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and creator of the passport index idea. “Resourceful nations must recruit and welcome the next generation to future-proof their economy. It is critical that advanced countries reconsider their present relatively exclusive attitude to the rest of the world, reforming and adapting to overcome competition and not lose out on opportunities to embrace potential.”

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