February 29, 2024
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How powerful (or not) is your passport in 2024?

Read on, for your laissez-passer status

Passports out! An unprecedented six countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Singapore – occupy the top spot in the 2024 Henley Passport Index, a ranking system based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association.

The six nations now possess the most powerful passports globally, providing visa-free access to an extraordinary 194 out of 227 destinations worldwide, according to the latest ranking issued by the London-headquartered Henly & Partners – the global leader in residence and citizenship by investment. The firm also operates the world’s leading government advisory practice for investment migration.

The broadening

According to Dr Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners, who conceived the passport index concept, while the overall pattern throughout the 19-year history of the ranking has leaned towards increased travel freedom, the current global mobility gap between individuals at the highest and lowest positions in the index is now broader than ever before.

Kaelin added: “The average number of destinations travellers can access visa-free has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024. However, in the new year, the top-ranked countries can now 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.”

Rung two

South Korea joins Finland and Sweden in second place, enjoying visa-free access to 193 destinations. Following closely, four EU nations—Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands—share the third spot, each with access to 192 destinations.

The United Kingdom ranks second to secure the fourth position, boasting visa-free access to 191 destinations. Australia and New Zealand find themselves in sixth place with 189 visa-free destinations. The United States retains its seventh position with access to 188 destinations, maintaining a consistent performance over the last decade.

Prolific riser

The United Arab Emirates stands out as the most significant climber over the past decade, soaring 44 places from 55th to 11th, with an impressive addition of 106 destinations to its visa-free score since 2014.

Passport
Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and Netherlands passport-holders can access 192 destinations. Image: ConvertFix

Ukraine and China have emerged as top performers in the past decade, each gaining 21 places in the rankings. Ukraine now sits in 32nd place with 148 visa-free destinations, while China is in 62nd place with access to 85 destinations.

In the GCC region

This is the ranking of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations in 2024 (Passport rank + country name + visa-free travel to total number of global destinations):

11 = United Arab Emirates 183

53 = Qatar 108

55 = Kuwait 102

59 = Bahrain 91

60 = Oman 90

61 = Saudi Arabia 89

Henley & Partners’ new research explores the relationship between visa-free access, economic progress, and investment migration programs. The data reveals a strong correlation, with countries offering investment migration programs experiencing increased economic performance.

Passport
Nations’ flags at Boston Logan International Airport (Terminal E) on November 14, 2023. Image: Arnold Pinto

Former Chief Economist at Lloyds Bank, Prof. Trevor Williams, underscores the link between economic performance and openness to international travel, trade, and investment. He emphasises the potential for economic progress in developing countries through increased transparency.

In Africa

Award-winning author and journalist Justice Malala highlights the transformative impact of Kenya and Rwanda’s visa-free policies on African mobility. Their bold move aligns with the African Union’s push for free movement, fostering economic and political connections.

Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, emphasises the positive impact of investment migration on a nation’s passport power and economic progress. He notes that these programmes enhance sovereign equity without compromising strategic objectives.

The Henley Passport Index began tracking global travel freedoms 19 years ago, and in 2024, it remains a comprehensive tool reflecting the evolving landscape of global mobility. As geopolitical and economic shifts continue, the index serves as a barometer for nations seeking to enhance their citizens’ travel freedom and economic opportunities.

Featured image: The Henley Passport Index began tracking global travel freedoms 19 years ago. Image: ConvertKit

2024 Henley Passport Index (Passport rank + country name + visa-free travel to total number of global destinations):

1 = France 194

1 = Germany 194

1 = Italy 194

1 = Japan 194

1 = Singapore 194

1 = Spain 194

2 = Finland 193

2 = South Korea 193

2 = Sweden 193

3 = Austria 192

3 = Denmark 192

3 = Ireland 192

3 = Netherlands 192

4 = Belgium 191

4 = Luxembourg 191

4 = Norway 191

4 = Portugal 191

4 = United Kingdom 191

5 = Greece 190

5 = Malta 190

5 = Switzerland 190

6 = Australia 189

6 = Czech Republic 189

6 = New Zealand 189

6 = Poland 189

7 = Canada 188

7 = Hungary 188

7 = United States 188

8 = Estonia 187

8 = Lithuania 187

9 = Latvia 186

9 = Slovakia 186

9 = Slovenia 186

10 = Iceland 185

11 = United Arab Emirates 183

12 = Cyprus 182

12 = Liechtenstein 182

12 = Malaysia 182

13 = Bulgaria 179

13 = Croatia 179

13 = Romania 179

14 = Monaco 178

15 = Chile 177

16 = Argentina 174

17 = Brazil 173

18 = San Marino 172

19 = Andorra 171

19 = Hong Kong (SAR China) 171

20 = Brunei 168

21 = Israel 166

22 = Barbados 165

23 = Mexico 161

24 = Bahamas 158

25 = St Kitts and Nevis 157

25 = St Vincent and the Grenadines 157

25 = Vatican City 157

26 = Seychelles 156

26 = Uruguay 156

27 = Antigua and Barbuda 153

28 = Costa Rica 152

29 = Trinidad and Tobago 151

30 = Mauritius 150

31 = Panama 149

32 = Grenada 148

32 = St Lucia 148

32 = Ukraine 148

33 = Paraguay 146

34 = Dominica 144

34 = Macao (SAR China) 144

35 = Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) 143

36 = Peru 142

37 = Serbia 138

38 = Guatemala 137

39 = El Salvador 136

40 = Colombia 135

40 = Honduras 135

41 = Solomon Islands 134

42 = Samoa 132

43 = Nicaragua 130

43 = Tonga 130

44 = Tuvalu 128

45 = North Macedonia 127

46 = Marshall Islands 126

46 = Montenegro 126

46 = Venezuela 126

47 = Kiribati 124

48 = Albania 123

48 = Micronesia 123

48 = Palau Islands 123

49 = Moldova 122

50 = Bosnia and Herzegovina 121

50 = Georgia 121

51 = Russian Federation 119

52 = Turkey 118

53 = Qatar 108

53 = South Africa 108

54 = Belize 104

55 = Kuwait 102

56 = Timor-Leste 96

57 = Ecuador 95

58 = Maldives 94

58 = Vanuatu 94

59 = Bahrain 91

59 = Botswana 91

59 = Fiji 91

59 = Guyana 91

60 = Jamaica 90

60 = Nauru 90

60 = Oman 90

61 = Saudi Arabia 89

62 = China 85

62 = Papua New Guinea 85

63 = Bolivia 82

63 = Thailand 82

64 = Belarus 81

64 = Suriname 81

65 = Lesotho 80

65 = Namibia 80

66 = Eswatini 78

66 = Indonesia 78

66 = Kazakhstan 78

67 = Kenya 76

67 = Malawi 76

68 = Dominican Republic 74

68 = Kosovo 74

69 = Tanzania 73

70 = Azerbaijan 72

71 = Morocco 71

71 = Tunisia 71

71 = Zambia 71

72 = The Gambia 70

73 = Cape Verde Islands 69

73 = Philippines 69

73 = Uganda 69

74 = Armenia 68

75 = Sierra Leone 67

76 = Ghana 66

76 = Rwanda 66

76 = Zimbabwe 66

77 = Kyrgyzstan 65

78 = Cuba 64

79 = Benin 63

79 = Mongolia 63

79 = Mozambique 63

80 = India 62

80 = Uzbekistan 62

81 = Gabon 61

81 = Sao Tome and Principe 61

81 = Tajikistan 61

82 = Burkina Faso 60

82 = Madagascar 60

83 = Cote d’Ivoire 59

83 = Guinea 59

83 = Mauritania 59

83 = Togo 59

84 = Equatorial Guinea 58

84 = Senegal 58

85 = Niger 57

86 = Algeria 56

86 = Cambodia 56

86 = Guinea-Bissau 56

86 = Mali 56

87 = Bhutan 55

87 = Central African Republic 55

87 = Chad 55

87 = Comoro Islands 55

87 = Egypt 55

87 = Haiti 55

87 = Jordan 55

87 = Vietnam 55

88 = Angola 53

88 = Cameroon 53

89 = Congo (Rep.) 52

89 = Turkmenistan 52

90 = Burundi 51

90 = Laos 51

90 = Liberia 51

91 = Djibouti 50

92 = Myanmar 48

93 = Ethiopia 47

94 = Congo (Dem. Rep.) 46

94 = South Sudan 46

95 = Iran 45

95 = Lebanon 45

95 = Nigeria 45

95 = Sudan 45

96 = Eritrea 43

96 = Sri Lanka 43

97 = Bangladesh 42

97 = North Korea 42

98 = Libya 40

98 = Nepal 40

98 = Palestinian Territory 40

99 = Somalia 36

100 = Yemen 35

101 = Pakistan 34

102 = Iraq 31

103 = Syria 29

104 = Afghanistan 28

Last Updated on 7 days by Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, space, aerospace, aviation, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, fashion, and automotive verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally and protecting the world’s oceans from plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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