Europe, led by Germany, dominates the list of the world’s most powerful passports this year, according to the latest Henley Passport Index.
But the German passport, allowing travelers to visit a total of 190 destinations without the need for a visa, is not the most powerful in the world.
Based on data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Henley Passport Index from London-based citizenship and global residency consultancy Henley & Partners, regularly monitors the world’s most user-friendly passports since 2006.
At the top of the rankings are Japan and Singapore jointly, with passports that allow visa-free travel to 192 destinations.
Europe dominates the top 20
At 190, South Korea is tied with Germany, while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain are all in third place with a score of 189, Austria and Denmark in fourth. with 188 visa-free countries in the world and France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden shares fifth place with 187 countries.
New Zealand, which this week announced the establishment of a vaccination certificate system, alongside Belgium and Switzerland, comes sixth, with 186 free entry countries.
The United States is ranked seventh
The United States and the United Kingdom which, as CNN reports, “together held the first place in 2014” are now in seventh place with a total of 185 destinations and share this place with the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta and Norway.
Australia and Canada are in eighth place with 184 countries while Hungary is ninth with 183 destinations.
Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia, all with 182, are ranked tenth.
Ranking analysis explains that travel restrictions imposed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 18 months have caused the largest global mobility gap in the index’s 16-year history and widened inequalities between the northern and southern hemispheres.
Inequalities and contrasts
The report explains that countries in the north of the world with high-ranking passports have enforced some of the most stringent inbound travel restrictions linked to Covid-19, while many countries with lower-ranking passports have relaxed their borders without seeing this reciprocal openness. ”
Compared to the top countries, Afghan passport holders, at the bottom of the list, can access 166 fewer destinations with just 26 countries to enter visa-free.
“The Global North has been pursuing aggressive migration containment strategies for some time now through the rigid application of border controls, compromising the movement of people in various ways,” writes Mehari Taddele Maru of the Institute on Comparative Regional Integration. Studies at the United Nations University. , in the report. âTravel restrictions associated with Covid-19 are new additions to the toolbox of migration containment instruments used by the Global North to curb mobility from the Global South. ”
Hence the domination by European countries of the top 20 passports.
At the bottom of the 227 travel destinations covered by the Henley Passport Index are North Korea with 39 destinations, Nepal and the Palestinian Territories with 37, Somalia with 34, Yemen with 33, Pakistan 31, Syria 29, l ‘Iraq and Afghanistan with 28.
For the ranking, the index does not take into account the temporary restrictions of Covid-19, “although such restrictions have created a deep gap in the freedom to travel even for people who have been fully vaccinated, coming from countries in bottom of the ranking which remains excluded from most other countries, âaccording to SchengenVisaInfo.
The contrasts between the countries at the top and those at the bottom have never been greater and the global situation around measures to fight the Covid pandemic does not tend to close the huge gap.
For example, as SchengenVisa Info explains, even though passports from Japan and Singapore are both ranked first in the Henley Passport Index, with visa-free access to 192 countries, both have maintained more entry bans. strict compared to the restrictions imposed by Afghanistan due to COVID. -19 – although his passport only gives visa-free access to 26 countries.
Despite Japan ranking first, with a visa-free score of 192, it currently imposes entry bans on almost all travelers from other countries as a preventive measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
At the same time, the report pointed out that Germany, ranked second with a score of 190, has barred entry to travelers from nearly 100 countries.
In contrast, Egypt, although 97th, currently has no travel restrictions in place. Yet its citizens can travel visa-free to just 51 destinations around the world.
Kenya, which is ranked 77th, has no travel bans in place. Yet Kenyan passport holders are only allowed access to 72 countries without acquiring a visa in advance.