The Margin: Which country’s passport is the most powerful in the world? Hint: it’s not the U.S.

by | Jul 24, 2023 | Stock Market

A Singaporean passport now has the greatest “passport power” in the world. Singapore’s travel document has officially surpassed Japan — which had held the top spot for the last five years — as the most powerful passport, according to the latest Henley Passport Index. The U.S. is further down the list, tied for the eighth spot.

Henley’s passport rankings methodology takes data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), one of the world’s largest databases of travel information, and assigns points based on the passport’s ability to allow travel to a destination visa-free. (The ability to travel to countries without a visa is important because it allows for increased tourism or business stays, the U.S. State Department’s website says, and can be both bilateral or unilateral.) Each country’s passport is awarded a single point for every place a person can travel to, including countries where a person can obtain a visitors permit or electronic travel authority (ETA) after arrival. The passport rankings are in the chart below:

Singapore’s passport allows for the most visa-free travel in the world, a new report shows.

Henley & Partners

So what makes Singapore’s travel document No. 1? Anyone holding a Singaporean passport can travel to 192 out of 227 travel destinations in the world without a visa, the index says. The next best passports are European nations Germany, Italy and Spain, which tied for second place with 190 visa-free travel destinations for anyone holding their passports. The United States passport, which was tied for No. 1 in the world in Henley’s ranking in 2014, is now tied for 8th with Lithuania’s passport in the index. The U.S. was tied for seventh place last year with 186 points, and it also tied for seventh place in 2021 with 185 points in Henley’s index. So why has the U.S. passport slipped? “The story is a simple one — by more or less standing still, the U.S. has fallen behind,” Greg Lindsay, leading global strategist and urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute, said about the report. “While its absolute score has in fact risen over the last decade, the U.S. has been steadily overtaken by rivals such as South Korea, Japan and Singapore. America’s relentless slide down the rankings — and unlikelihood of reclaiming the highest position any time soon — is a warning to its ne …

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