Japan & Singapore remain world’s most powerful passports

Indian passport climbs to 80th spot in 2024 Henley Passport Index
2024-01-13
/
/ New Delhi
Japan & Singapore remain world’s most powerful passports

South Korea joins Finland and Sweden in second place with visa-free travel to 193 destinations

Japan and Singapore have been joined by France, Germany, Italy and Spain in listing of world’s most powerful passports in 2024, while India progresses to 80th position in the Henley Passport Index 2024.
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Four European Union member states of France, Germany, Italy and Spain, join Japan and Singapore, who have dominated the top spot for the past five years, at top of list of the most powerful passports in the world, according to Henley Passport Index 2024.

In a press statement, the company that produces the annual ranking says that India has improved its ranking to move up to the 80th position from the previous year’s ranking of 84. Those holding an Indian passport now have visa-free access to 62 destinations, including popular tourist destinations like Thailand, Indonesia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and Maldives.

According to the latest 2024 Henley Passport Index, compiled with official data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), these six countries share the top spot with visa-free access to a record-breaking number of destinations, precisely 194 destinations out of 227 around the globe visa-free. 

Christian H Kaelin

Christian H Kaelin

The report says that South Korea joins Finland and Sweden in second place with visa-free travel to 193 destinations. Another four EU nations of Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and Netherlands, share third place with access to 192. The rest of the Top 10 is largely dominated by European countries, with the UK climbing up two ranks to fourth place with visa-free access to 191 destinations compared to just 188 a year ago. 

The index indicates that Australia and New Zealand passports have both improved their ranking to 6th place with 189 visa-free destinations, while the US retains its 7th place with access to 188 destinations without requiring a visa in advance. It has been a decade since the UK and the US jointly held first place on the index in 2014.

“Although the general trend over the history of the 19-year-old ranking has been towards greater travel freedom, the global mobility gap between those at the top and bottom of the index is now wider than ever. The average number of destinations travelers are able to access visa-free has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024. However, as we enter the new year, the top-ranked countries are now able to travel to a staggering 166 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the ranking with access to just 28 countries without a visa,” says Christian H Kaelin, Chairman of Henley and Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept.

Biggest climbers and fallers

The UAE remains the biggest climber on the Henley Passport Index over the past decade, adding 106 destinations to its visa-free score since 2014, resulting in a massive leap of 44 places in the ranking from 55th to 11th position. Ukraine and China are also among the top five countries with the most improved rankings over the past 10 years and both have climbed a further two ranks in the past year. 

Frédéric Léger

Frédéric Léger

The report says that Ukraine is now in 32nd place with 148 visa-free destinations and China is 62nd on the ranking with access to 85 destinations without a prior visa. While Russia has seen a net gain of 24 destinations over the past decade, its visa-free score and ranking has barely shifted since 2017, and it now sits in 51st place with access to 119 destinations.

“With passenger traffic set to double by 2040, the optimisation and enhancement of airport processes will need to continue. Checking and verifying travel documents more often than not needs to be performed manually. With the expected continued growth in air travel, this task needs to be automated to a much higher degree. Passengers have clearly communicated that they are willing to share their data in advance of travel to achieve this goal. Building on IATA’s long-standing experience in collecting and making accurate travel document, visa and health information available to both stakeholders in travel value chain and travelers, the new version of Timatic AutoCheck offers various online solutions, through which travelers can check that they comply with all travel requirements before setting off to the airport,” says Frédéric Léger, IATA’s Senior Vice President Commercial Products and Services.

Misha Glenny

Misha Glenny

“In 2024, 40 countries making up over 50 pc of global GDP will undergo decisive elections, including the US and several other major powers. Political trends point to a lack of geopolitical coordination heightening the risk of prospective shocks to an already precarious economic environment. The general trend, however, remains steady. A decline in American and European influence and a jostling for power among the Asian big boys,” says award-winning British journalist and author, Misha Glenny.

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