The Henley Passport Index has released its global rankings of the world’s most powerful passports, revealing which countries have the most visa-free access.
Boasting historical data spanning 14 years, the Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
With Australian passport-holders having access to 181 countries without a prior visa, Australia is one of the highest ranked on the list, as the ninth most powerful passport in the world.
Sharing the podium as the three most powerful passports in the world are Japan, Singapore and South Korea, each with access to 189 countries across the globe without a prior visa.
Iraq and Afghanistan continue to hold the bottom (104th) spot on the index, with only 30 destinations accessible visa-free or with a visa on arrival.
Dr. Parag Khanna, founder and managing partner of FutureMap and author of The Future Is Asian: Global Order in the Twenty-first Century, said the results are an indication of the flow of globalisation.
“With all Asian countries topping the index, there is a clear momentum behind the region taking centre stage in globalisation,” he said.
“The steady rise of China through its visa-waiver agreements shows how incremental and reciprocal measures can lead to significant progress in trust and recognition.”
Following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan, Germany currently sits in second place with a score of 188, while five countries now share third place on the index with a score of 187: Denmark, Finland, France, Italy and Sweden.
Meanwhile, Britain and the United States look increasingly unlikely to regain the top spot they jointly held in 2015. The UK now sits in fifth place with a visa-free/visa on arrival score of 185, while the US is in sixth with a score of 184.
Dr Christian H. Kälin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, said that despite rising isolationist sentiment in some parts of the world, most countries remain committed to collaboration and mutually beneficial agreements.
“Historical data from the Henley Passport Index over the past 14 years shows an overwhelming global tendency towards visa openness,” he said.
“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 nearly doubled to 107.”
With Britain’s impending departure from the European Union, Brexit has not yet had any effect on its standing in the Henley Passport Index, according to its official release.
This comes off the back of the news that the UK still remains the fifth largest travel and tourism sector in the world, trailing behind the US, China, Japan and Germany.