Having a passport opens up a world of opportunity for anyone that is fortunate enough to have one.
However, it’s not a one size fits all kind of document, as there are some passports that are far better than others, in terms of visa-free travel.
Most people don’t really have a choice which passport they want, as it’s normally decided for you at birth when you first become a citizen of your native country.
However, for those of you who think outside the box, and are curious to learn more about passports in general, we’ve put together a list of the 10 most powerful passports in the world in accordance to the Henley Passport Index.
This will give you a better idea of what’s available and which countries have the most powerful passports for travelling visa-free.
The 10 Most Powerful Passports in the World
We’ve ordered this list from #10 to #1, despite a lot of these passports being able to travel to the same number of countries.
These are the 10 most powerful passports in the world:
10. Sweden – 186 Countries
Kicking off the list of the 10 most powerful passports in the world is Sweden.
Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the East.
If you hold a Swedish passport, then you’re entitled to visit 186 countries visa-free.
Other countries will either require you to obtain a visa or e-visa before entering the country.
Sweden retained its fourth-place ranking from the previous year on the Passport Index.
9. France – 186 Countries
Next up, we have another passport that allows you to travel internationally to 186 nations visa-free.
France is a western, European country that borders 8 other countries: Italy, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Monaco, Andora, Switzerland & Luxembourg.
Holding a French passport will get you access to 186 countries without having to obtain a visa.
Also, France allows you to have dual nationality, meaning you can have two passports as you’re a citizen of two countries.
France ties with Sweden and Luxembourg for fourth place on the Passport Index, which is one place less than the previous year.
However, holding a French passport is still one of the best passports in the world.
8. Luxembourg – 187 Countries
Number eight on our list is Luxembourg.
Luxembourg is a small European landlocked country that borders Belgium, France and Germany.
It’s one of four official European Capitals of the European Union, together with Brussels, Frankfurt and Strasbourg.
Since the previous year, Luxembourg has managed to climb from fifth to third place on Henleys Passport Index.
Having this passport means you can travel to 187 countries without a visa, as well as being open to more interesting options to increase your freedom if you wish.
Similar to France, Luxembourg allows you the option to gain have dual nationality and multiple citizenships.
7. Italy – 187 Countries
Tied with Luxembourg & Denmark, Italy is the next most powerful passport on our list.
Issued to Italian citizens for the purpose of international travel, the Italian passport is the seventh most powerful passport in the world.
Like most on the list, Italy introduced biometric technology into their physical passports in 2006, with the purpose of making things easier to control and less administrative work.
Italian citizens can apply for either a 10, 5 or 3-year passport, depending on the age of the applicant.
Each Italian citizen is also a citizen of the European Union, and with an Italian passport, you have the right to live in any European, European Economic or Swiss state, due to the freedom of movement.
Holding an Italian passport also gives you the option to have dual nationality.
6. Denmark – 187 Countries
The last country to allow visa-free travel to 187 countries is Denmark.
Denmark is a Scandinavian country that comprises of the Jutland Peninsula and numerous other islands.
Danish passports are issued to citizens of the Kingdom of Denmark.
If you’re a citizen of Denmark, you’re entitled to travel to 187 countries without a visa.
The passport also entitles the bearer freedom of movement in Switzerland and the European Union.
Different variations exist for nationals of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Danish nationals that reside in Greenland or the Faroe Islands, have the option to choose between the Danish EU passport and or the local non-EU Passport.
5. Finland – 188 Countries
Tied with Germany and South Korea, Finland is the first country to break into our top five.
Finland is a Nordic country in Northern Europe.
It has various sea borders, like the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia & the Gulf of Finland, and borders Russia, Norway and Sweden by land.
Being a citizen of Finland entitles you to a passport which will give you visa-free travel to 188 countries around the world.
Since the previous year, Finland has jumped from ranking fourth on the Passport Index to second.
As with all passports, the Finish passport can be used as an identity document, to prove that you’re a Finish national when visiting other countries.
Passports are valid for 5 years after issuance and every Finish citizen is also a citizen of the European Union.
4. Germany – 188 Countries
Germany is the fourth most powerful passport on our list, allowing German citizens access to 188 countries around the world.
Since the previous year, Germany has moved up one place in the official world rankings by Henleys Passport Index, tying second place with Finland and Denmark.
By holding a German passport, you’re entitled to travel visa-free to 188 countries and have the added benefit of freedom of movement within the EU.
German passports are valid for 10 years for adults and six years for citizens under the age of 24.
By holding a German passport, you can also, live, work and study in one of the worlds most inexpensive countries for higher education, or travel to any neighbouring country in the EU to do the same.
3. South Korea – 188 Countries
The final country to allow visa-free travel to 188 countries is South Korea.
South Korea is located in East Asia and constitutes the southernmost part of the Korean Peninsula.
By land, it borders North Korea and by sea, it borders the East Sea, the East China Sea & The Yellow Sea.
Holding a South Korean passport allows you to travel to 188 countries visa-free.
Like all other passports, a South Korean Passport acts as a travel document that can prove your identity, with things like your date of birth and Nationality.
South Korean Passports also indicate the holder’s resident registration number, as long as they have one.
Passports from South Korea are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and normally printed by the Korean Minting & Security Printing Corporation.
2. Singapore – 190 Countries
Tying the top spot for the most powerful passport in the world, Singapore allows visa-free travel to 190 countries worldwide for citizens and nationals.
Singapore is an island-city state located at the southernmost point of Malaysia. It’s seen as a global financial centre and borders Malaysia to its north.
By obtaining a Singaporean passport, bearers have the most flexibility in the world, with access to 190 countries visa-free.
Whilst travelling, the bearer can facilitate assistance from the Singaporean Consular Officials and also request protection, if necessary.
Singaporean passports are normally valid for a period of five years and are issued exclusively by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority.
Since the Singaporean passport is the worlds most powerful passport, its, unfortunately, a target for counterfeiters, due to the respect and hassle-free experience bearers have with immigration when travelling.
However, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority is very proactive with staying on top of this by introducing a number of different measures, including, biometric passports, digital photographs and special ink.
1. Japan – 190 Countries
Japan ties with Singapore for the most powerful passport in the world.
Although it’s jointly ranked with Singapore, it still holds onto the top spot for the second year in a row.
Japan is a small island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, East Asia.
With a Japanese passport, you’re can expect to travel to 190 countries visa-free.
Issued to Japanese citizens for international travel, Japanese passports last for either five or ten years depending on the age of the applicant and registration fees.
If the worlds most powerful passport interests you, and you would like to get one for yourself, then you’ll need to get yourself residency in Japan for at least five years before you can start the formal application process.
However, don’t let that deter you as the rate of citizen acceptance sits around 90%, so as long as you tick all the boxes, you’ve got a pretty good chance.
There are also a number of other ways to become a citizen, like family ties or investment, but think carefully before becoming a citizen, as Japan requires you to renounce your existing citizenships as part of the deal, so there’s no dual citizenship with this one.
Having said that, it’s a great country and currently has the most powerful passport in the world, so some serious thought will have to be given if you want to become a citizen of Japan.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the 10 most powerful passports in the world.
There were a couple of surprises in there, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
Being able to travel to 190 countries visa-free is fantastic, but it’s not the end of the world if your current passport is not on the list.
You can always emigrate to one of these countries, then you’ll be able to apply for one of the worlds most powerful passports!
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 most powerful passports in the world:
- Japan – 190 Countries
- Singapore – 190 Countries
- South Korea – 190 Countries
- Germany – 188 Countries
- Finland – 188 Countries
- Denmark – 187 Countries
- Italy – 187 Countries
- Luxembourg – 187 Countries
- France – 186 Countries
- Sweden – 186 Countries