A passport is the key to traveling abroad. However, some passports are considered to be “stronger” than others. The world’s most powerful passports are those that offer the greatest travel freedom.
The strongest passports are those that allow the holder to enter the most countries easily, without extra entry requirements, such as visas.
There are different factors that affect travel freedom and the strength of a passport. The Henley Passport Index (HPI), compiled by Henley & Partners, is regarded as the authority on passport strength. It ranks every passport in the world by the travel freedom it allows.
Find out the world passport ranking for 2021 below.
How Do You Measure the Strength of a Passport?
All sovereign states issue passports to their citizens. These documents are essential to travel to other countries. However, many destinations also require visitors to have a visa to enter.
In some cases, a country’s visa policy may allow travelers of certain nationalities to visit without a visa for a period of time. This is usually due to agreements between the 2 countries in question. In these situations, the traveler’s passport is all that is needed.
The more countries that a traveler can access visa-free, the more powerful their passport.
The Henley Passport Index ranks passports according to the number of destinations holders can enter without applying for a visa in advance (including both embassy visas and online visas).
The HPI ranks a passport highly if it allows the holder to visit many countries with any of the following entry criteria:
- Passport only
- Electronic travel authorization (eTA) / online visa waiver
- Visa on arrival
The World’s Strongest Passports for Travel Freedom
In 2021, the most powerful passport in the world in terms of travel freedom is the Japanese passport, according to the HPI.
A passport issued by Japan allows the holder to enter 193 different countries and territories without having to get a visa in advance.
The second-best passport to hold, according to Henley, is a Singaporean passport. This is close behind Japan with 192 destinations.
Germany and South Korea are tied for 3rd place. Passports issued by these countries grant visa-free travel to 191 destinations around the globe.
European Union (EU) countries make up the bulk of the top-ranked passports. Italian, Finnish, Luxembourgish, and Spanish passports share 4th place, while Austrian and Danish passports tie for 5th. French, Irish, Dutch, Portuguese, and Swedish passports are co-ranked 6th.
The top 10 passports in the world also include those issued by the UK, US, Canada, and Australia.
There are relatively few countries with visa requirements for Americans. US passport holders can visit 187 destinations visa-free.
Similarly, visa requirements for British citizens are few and far between, with no visa required in advance for 187 countries and territories.
Passports issued by the United Kingdom, the United States, and New Zealand share 7th place with Belgium and Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Australian and Canadian passports are tied as the 9th strongest passports in the world, allowing access to 185 destinations without a visa.
See the visa requirements for Australians and the visa requirements for Canadians for further details about which destinations may be visited without a visa.
What Country Has the Weakest Passport?
Afghanistan has the weakest passport in the world by travel freedom.
The HPI places Afghanistan at the bottom of its list, in 110th place.
A passport issued by Afghanistan allows the holder to enter only 26 countries and territories without applying for a visa in advance. Of these, many still require the traveler to apply for a visa on arrival.
The Weakest Passports for Travel Freedom in the World
Iraqi passports are only just above those issued by Afghanistan in the HPI rankings, allowing entry to 28 destinations without getting a visa prior to the trip.
Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen round out the bottom 5 in 2021, with 29, 32, and 33 visa-free destinations, respectively.
The Top 10 Most Powerful Passports in the World
The top 10 most powerful passports on Earth in 2021 are those issued by Japan, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Italy, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, Austria, and Denmark. However, since many of these are tied for position, the top 10 positions have been listed in the table below.
They have been ranked in descending order according to the number of destinations passport holders can enter without applying for a visa before traveling.
The data presented below is based on the current HPI ranking for each passport.
The Top 10 Least Powerful Passports
The least powerful passports in terms of travel freedom are ranked below, according to the data presented by the HPI.
RankNumber of countries accessible without a visa in advance