Singapore has overtaken Japan to boast of the world’s most powerful passport, the Henley Passport Index showed.
What it means is that the Singapore passport allows holders visa-free entry to 192 destinations out of 227 in the world.
The global passport ranking for 2023 was conducted based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority, or IATA, which ranks the world’s passports based on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
Germany, Italy and Spain tied in second place, with their citizens being able to visit 190 global destinations.
Japan, which topped the list last year, slipped to third place — its passport allowing visa-free access to 189 destinations, down from 193 in 2022. Other passports that tied with Japan to rank third place are Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea and Sweden.
The UK jumped up two places to come in fourth, having turned the corner after a six-year decline.
“The general trend over the history of the 18-year-old ranking has been towards greater travel freedom,” Henley and Partners said in a press release statement.
Singapore’s passport was also in first place in 2021 with access to 194 destinations, but the city state dipped to second place last year. In the past 10 years, Singapore has increased its score by 25, pushing the country up by five places to take the top spot, Henley and Partners added.
Conversely, out of the top 10 countries, the U.S. saw the smallest increase in its index score over the last decade, the investment migration consultancy noted. The U.S. now ranks eighth place in the passport index.
“The story is a simple one — by more or less standing still, the U.S. has fallen behind,” said urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute, Greg Lindsay. He pointed out that the country has been “steadily overtaken” by South Korea, Japan and Singapore.
Singapore’s passport allows holders visa-free entry to 192 destinations out of 227 in the world, according to the Henley Passport Index showed.
Julia Chan | Istock | Getty Images
“America’s relentless slide down the rankings — and unlikelihood of reclaiming the highest position any time soon — is a warning to its neighbor Canada and the rest of the Anglosphere as well,” Lindsay said in a separate statement released alongside the index.
The slide will contribute to a “decline in U.S. soft power” should businesses face challenges inviting partners to meetings and tourists having to encounter application delays, said Center for Strategic and International Studies’ senior non-resident associate Annie Pforzheimer.
More than just a travel document, Henley and Partners said a strong passport provides significant financial freedoms when it comes to international investments and business opportunities.
“Global connectivity and access have become indispensable features of wealth creation and preservation, and its value will only grow as geopolitical volatility and regional instability increase,” the report said.