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Top 10 Most Powerful Passports in 2022

Here is the list of Top 10 most powerful passports in 2022 according to Henley Passport Index.

According to the inaugural 2022 report from London-based global citizenship and resident advice company Henley & Partners, the gap between the global north and the global south in terms of travel freedoms is expanding.

Since 2006, the Henley Passport Index has been routinely tracking the world’s most travel-friendly passports, based on proprietary data given by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). 

According to the report, the Covid pandemic has resulted in the biggest worldwide mobility gap in the index’s 16-year history, owing to increased travel restrictions.

Leaving aside actual current travel access, holders of passports from Japan and Singapore, both at the very top of the index’s rating, can theoretically travel visa-free to 192 places. That’s 166 more than Afghan nationals, who are at the bottom of the 199-passport index and may only travel to 26 countries without a visa in advance.

Henley Passport Index scoring scheme

According to its website, the Henley Passport Index analyzes 199 different passports’ visa-free access to 227 different travel destinations.

If a visa is not required, a score of 1 is assigned to that passport. If you can get a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authorization (ETA) when you arrive at your destination, the same rules apply.

A score of 0 is assigned when a visa is necessary or when a passport bearer must get a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) before to departure. If you need pre-departure government clearance for a visa on arrival, this also applies.

The number of destinations for which no visa is required (value = 1) determines the overall score for each passport.

Here are the top 10 best passports and 8 worst passports to hold in 2022:

Top 10 best passports to hold in 2022

  1. Japan, Singapore (192 destinations)
  2. Germany, South Korea (190)
  3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (189)
  4. Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Sweden (188)
  5. Ireland, Portugal (187)
  6. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (186)
  7. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185)
  8. Poland, Hungary (183)
  9. Lithuania, Slovakia (182)
  10. Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia (181)

Top 8 worst passports to hold

Several countries around the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to fewer than 40 countries. These include:

104. North Korea (39 destinations)

105. Nepal and Palestinian territories (37)

106. Somalia (34)

107. Yemen (33)

108. Pakistan (31)

109. Syria (29)

110. Iraq (28)

111. Afghanistan (26)

EU countries dominate 9/10 top spots

As we start the first quarter of 2022, the top ten rankings have remained essentially same. In second spot, South Korea is tied with Germany (with a score of 190), while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain are all tied for third place (with a score of 189).

Just like in the previous years, EU nations dominate the top of the list, with France, the Netherlands, and Sweden moving up one spot to fourth place, joining Austria and Denmark (with a score of 188). In fifth position are Ireland and Portugal (with a score of 187).

As we start the first quarter of 2022, the top ten rankings have remained essentially same. In second spot, South Korea is tied with Germany (with a score of 190), while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain are all tied for third place (with a score of 189).

Just like in the previous years, EU nations dominate the top of the list, with France, the Netherlands, and Sweden moving up one spot to fourth place, joining Austria and Denmark (with a score of 188). In fifth position are Ireland and Portugal (with a score of 187).

The top two countries, the United States and the United Kingdom, have regained some ground since 2014. Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, and New Zealand have all advanced one spot to rank 6, joining four other countries with a history of isolationism or neutrality: Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, and New Zealand.

Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Malta are ranked seventh. The top ten countries are all from Eastern Europe. Hungary and Poland have moved up to eighth place, Lithuania and Slovakia have moved up to ninth place, while Estonia, Latvia, and Slovenia have moved up to tenth place.

Expanding travel freedom

According to the latest report, the Omicron variant’s appearance late last year highlighted a widening gap in international mobility between wealthier and poorer countries, pointing to tough restrictions imposed against primarily African countries that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described as “travel apartheid.”

Aside from pandemic, global travel freedom has greatly increased in recent decades. According to the Henley Passport Index from 2006, an individual might visit 57 countries on average without needing to get a visa ahead of time. Today, that number has nearly doubled to 107.

Opening up migratory pathways, according to Christian H. Kaelin, head of Henley & Partners and developer of the passport index idea, will be critical for post-pandemic recovery. “Passports and visas are among the most important instruments impacting on social inequality worldwide as they determine opportunities for global mobility,” he argues.

“The borders within which we happen to be born, and the documents we are entitled to hold, are no less arbitrary than our skin colour. Wealthier states need to encourage positive inward migration in an effort to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources worldwide.”

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