The Best Passports to Own This Year

Asian countries top The Henley Passport Index 2022, which ranks the world's best passports in terms of travel mobility. Japan, Singapore and South Korea now hold leading positions; meanwhile, European countries retain a strong presence.

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Restrictions have lifted around the world and international travel has for the most part resumed, but which nationalities have the most freedom when it comes to choosing where to go?

Well, recent global disturbances like the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have had a profound effect on the strength of passports across the globe.

The Henley Passport Index—from immigration consultancy, Henley & Partners—assesses which citizenships are most valuable in terms of visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to all of the world’s countries.

“The passport you hold determines your fate and dramatically impacts the options you have,” said Dr Christian Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners, responsible for the development of the Henley Passport Index.


The index is significant in that it provides an insight into which nationalities have the most “border privilege”. Those with the best passports have the most hassle-free travel experiences (e.g., shorter waiting times, fewer security checks, and fewer expenses). But they also have access to more opportunities in today’s global world.

Movement in the rankings

Bloomberg recently reported that Asian countries have taken the lead in Henley’s Passport Index, usurping positions formally held by top European locations.

Japan ranked as the most powerful passport, with smooth access to 193 countries. Singapore and South Korea were close behind with a total of 192.

While Asia now tops the table, European countries still have a strong presence. Other countries in the top “5” included Germany, Spain, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, and Denmark (with some countries receiving the same score).

Back in 2015, the UK and Germany held the top spot. This year, the UK has fallen to 6th place, and Germany sits in 3rd position alongside Spain.

Brexit undoubtedly had an impact on the UK’s position, with the country losing the passport privileges of an EU member state. Britons can now no longer join the EU fast-track queue and will need to obtain a visa to remain in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days within a 180-day period.

It is also worth noting that the US dropped from 6th to 7th place and now sits behind the UK.

International travel demand

Interestingly, over 70% of Europeans had travel plans for summer 2022 (Ipsos/Europ Assistance); this is significantly higher than in the Asia-Pacific region, where international travel remains less than one-fifth of pre-pandemic levels, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

With a trepidation towards travel still in the air, global tourism is yet to fully recover from the coronavirus pandemic. And as we navigate further into the “new normal”, we’re bound to see a lot of fluctuation in the rankings of the world’s most powerful passports.

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