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World's most powerful passport revealed as UK slips down the rankings

Will Metcalfe
The UK has continued its four-year slide down the world’s most powerful passports. Stock image. (PA)

The world’s most powerful passport has been revealed as the UK’s position in the ranking continues to fall.

According to the Henley Passport Index, a Japanese passport is the most effective for travelling freely, with citizens enjoying visa-free or on arrival access to 190 countries.

Singapore and South Korea were tied in second place, with their passports offering access to 189 destinations, and France and Germany were joint third.

The UK, which was joint top of the ranking in 2015, now lies in joint sixth along with its transatlantic cousin, the United States.

Both the United States and United Kingdom have fallen according to the index produced by Henley and Partners. (PA)

Dr Christian H Kälin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, says despite rising isolationist sentiment in some parts of the world, most countries remain committed to collaboration and mutually beneficial agreements.

He said: “Historical data from the Henley Passport Index over the past 14 years shows an overwhelming global tendency towards visa openness.

“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.”

As in 2018, countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programmes – where a direct route to citizenship is offered based on a person’s level of investment in the country – continue to hold strong positions on the index. 

Malta sits in 9th spot, with access to 182 destinations and St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda hold 27th and 28th spot respectively, while Moldova remains in a strong position at 46th place, with citizens able to access 122 countries.

Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, added: “More and more countries are looking to launch CBI programmes, which attract talented individuals and bring enormous economic and societal benefits to their nations.”