World's most powerful passport revealed as United Kingdom slips down the rankings

Japanese citizens are able to enter the most countries without needing a visa. Credit. Creative Commons

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, said that despite the rise of strong rhetoric and a move towards isolationism in some parts of the world, most countries open to collaborating with other nations. In 2017, the country was ranked 85th, with citizens able to access just 51 destinations.

Singapore and South Korea were tied at joint second place, with access to 189 destinations, and France and Germany were joint third.

Japanese citizens can enter 190 countries around the world visa free, the Henley Passport Index revealed.

Meanwhile, Ireland was ranked seventh alongside Belgium, Canada and Greece all of which can travel to 184 destinations.

Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Sweden now hold joint fourth place, while Spain and Luxembourg are in 5th. Experts explain a significant drop from the top spot in 2015 by the policy of "closed doors" waged by both countries.

The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world's largest and most accurate database of travel information, and it is enhanced by extensive, ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.

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Elsewhere in Asia, China jumped nearly 20 places in just two years, from 85th in 2017 to 69th this year.

The Index ranks all the world's passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

Commenting on the UAE's recent partnerships with African nations, Ryan Cummings, Director of Signal Risk, said, "The United Arab Emirates has demonstrated a penchant for reciprocating visa deregulation as the country aims to attract diverse skill-sets and increase the power of its own passport".

In the world ranking, Afghanistan and Iran took the last spot at 104 as their passports can only get you into 30 countries without a visa.

Germany and France are ranked in third place, with access to 188 destinations without a visa; while the United States and the UK continue to falter, and now sit at joint sixth place with access to 185 destinations.

"In 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by the end of 2018, this number had almost doubled to 107". Malta sits in ninth spot, with access to 182 destinations and St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda hold 27th and 28th spot respectively, while Moldova remains in a strong position at 46th place, with citizens able to access 122 countries.

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