Ranked: world’s most powerful passports 2022

Japan and Singapore have the world’s most powerful passports with the UK and US in joint-sixth. We take a look at the rest of the results

It feels a little masochistic to look at the world’s most powerful passports after yet another year of recurring lockdowns. However, as we’ve said before, we remain hopeful about the future of travel. We believe that exploration is a human instinct and that as soon as it is safe, people will return to the road.

With this in mind, we take a look at the newly released ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, compiled by Henley Passport Index. With historical data spanning 17 years, the index ranks passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

Kanuman/Shutterstock Singapore has joined Japan at the top

What are the world’s most powerful passports?

Japan and Singapore jointly have the world’s most powerful passports in 2022, granting easy access to 192 destinations. They are followed by Germany and South Korea in joint-third. The 10 most powerful passports are below.

  1. Japan, 192 destinations
  2. Singapore, 192
  3. Germany, 190
  4. South Korea, 190
  5. Finland, 189
  6. Italy, 189
  7. Luxembourg, 189
  8. Spain, 189
  9. Austria, 188
  10. Denmark, 188

What are the world’s least powerful passports?

Afghanistan is the world’s least powerful passport in 2022, granting easy access to only 26 destinations. It ranks just below Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen. The 10 least powerful passports are below.

  1. Libya, 40 destinations
  2. North Korea, 39
  3. Nepal, 37
  4. Palestinian Territory, 37
  5. Somalia, 34
  6. Yemen, 33
  7. Pakistan, 31
  8. Syria, 29
  9. Iraq, 28
  10. Afghanistan, 26
Prayer flags and a mountain in Nepal
Thanakorn chuenpongsa/Shutterstock Nepal’s passport performs badly

Increase in Visa-Free Destinations: 2006 versus 2022

The darker blue countries have increased the number of destinations their citizens can access visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival the most. Hover over a country to see the number of destinations it has gained access to since 2006.

How is the ranking calculated?

The Henley Passport Index uses data from the International Air Transport Authority to cross-check 199 passports against 227 possible travel destinations. 

For each travel destination, if no visa is required or a visa-on-arrival is available, the passport in question receives a score of 1. If a visa or other form of government approval is required before departure, the passport receives a score of 0. 

The scores for each passport are added up to produce its total score (i.e. the number of destinations to which it grants access without a prior visa). This is then ranked against all other passports to create the index. 

interesting insights

Japan has taken the top spot of the index for the fourth consecutive year, either alone or jointly with Singapore. This year it is once again joined by Singapore.

Japan tops the list of the most powerful passports in the world
Travel Mania/Shutterstock Japan tops the list of the most powerful passports in the world again

Over the past eight years, the US passport has fallen from the number one spot to sixth place, a position it currently shares with the UK, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand and Belgium.

North Korea has visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 39 destinations. This includes only one country in Europe: Belarus. 

Dubai skyline at night
RED87PUTRA/SHUTTERSTOCK The UAE continues its rapid ascent

The UAE has continued its remarkable upward trajectory. In 2022, it has a score of 175 to take 15th place on the ranking. This is a rapid ascent from 2006 when it had a score of just 35 and ranked 62nd.

The biggest climbers over the past decade are UAE, Colombia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, Georgia and Peru. In contrast, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, Libya, The Gambia and Sierra Leone have fared the worst. 

World’s most powerful passports – ranked

Rank Country Score
1 Japan 192
Singapore 192
2 Germany 190
South Korea 190
3 Finland 189
Italy 189
Luxembourg 189
Spain 189
4 Austria 188
Denmark 188
France 188
Netherlands 188
Sweden 188
5 Ireland 187
Portugal 187
6 Belgium 186
New Zealand 186
Norway 186
Switzerland 186
UK 186
USA 186
7 Australia 185
Canada 185
Czech Rep 185
Greece 185
Malta 185
8 Hungary 183
Poland 183
9 Lithuania 182
Slovakia 182
10 Estonia 181
Latvia 181
Slovenia 181
11 Iceland 180
12 Malaysia 179
13 Liechtenstein 178
14 Cyprus 176
15 UAE 175
16 Chile 174
Monaco 174
Romania 174
17 Bulgaria 173
Croatia 173
18 Hong Kong (SAR) 171
19 Argentina 170
20 Brazil 169
San Marino 169
21 Andorra 168
22 Brunei 166
23 Barbados 161
24 Israel 159
24 Mexico 159
25 St Kitts & Nevis 157
26 Bahamas 155
27 Uruguay 153
Vatican City 153
28 Seychelles 152
29 St Vincent & Gren 151
30 Antigua & Barbuda 150
Costa Rica 150
Trinidad & Tobago 150
31 Mauritius 146
St. Lucia 146
32 Taiwan 145
33 Dominica 144
Grenada 144
Macao (SAR) 144
34 Panama 142
35 Paraguay 141
Ukraine 141
36 Peru 135
Serbia 135
Vanuatu 135
37 El Salvador 134
38 Guatemala 133
Honduras 133
39 Colombia 131
Samoa 131
Solomon Islands 131
40 Tonga 129
Venezuela 129
41 Nicaragua 127
Tuvalu 127
42 North Macedonia 125
43 Kiribati 123
Montenegro 123
44 Marshall Islands 122
45 Moldova 120
46 Palau 119
Russia 119
47 Bosnia & Herz 117
Micronesia 117
48 Georgia 115
49 Albania 114
50 Turkey 110
51 South Africa 104
52 Belize 101
53 Qatar 97
54 Kuwait 95
55 Timor-Leste 93
56 Ecuador 91
57 Nauru 89
58 Fiji 88
Maldives 88
59 Guyana 87
60 Botswana 86
61 Jamaica 85
62 Bahrain 84
63 Papua New Guinea 82
64 China 80
Oman 80
65 Belarus 79
Bolivia 79
Saudi Arabia 79
Thailand 79
66 Namibia 78
67 Lesotho 77
Suriname 77
68 Kazakhstan 75
69 eSwatini 74
70 Malawi 73
71 Kenya 72
Tanzania 72
72 Indonesia 71
Tunisia 71
Zambia 71
73 Dominican Rep 70
74 Azerbaijan 69
75 The Gambia 68
76 Uganda 67
77 Cape Verde Islands 66
Philippines 66
78 Armenia 65
Zimbabwe 65
79 Cuba 64
Ghana 64
Morocco 64
80 Kyrgyzstan 63
Sierra Leone 63
81 Mozambique 62
82 Benin 61
Mongolia 61
Rwanda 61
83 Sao Tome & Prin 60
84 India 59
Mauritania 59
Tajikistan 59
85 Burkina Faso 58
86 Gabon 57
Uzbekistan 57
87 Cote d’Ivoire 56
Senegal 56
88 Equatorial Guinea 55
Madagascar 55
89 Guinea 54
Mali 54
Togo 54
Vietnam 54
90 Bhutan 53
Cambodia 53
Chad 53
Comoro Islands 53
Niger 53
91 Algeria 52
Central African Rep 52
Egypt 52
Guinea-Bissau 52
Jordan 52
Turkmenistan 52
92 Burundi 51
93 Angola 50
Cameroon 50
Laos 50
94 Liberia 49
95 Congo 48
Haiti 48
96 Djibouti 47
97 Myanmar 46
98 Ethiopia 45
Nigeria 45
99 South Sudan 44
100 Eritrea 43
101 DR Congo 42
Iran 42
102 Lebanon 41
Sri Lanka 41
Sudan 41
103 Bangladesh 40
Kosovo 40
Libya 40
104 North Korea 39
105 Nepal 37
Palestinian Territory 37
106 Somalia 34
107 Yemen 33
108 Pakistan 31
109 Syria 29
110 Iraq 28
111 Afghanistan 26

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Lead image: Sachiczko/Shutterstock

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