Japan overtakes Singapore as world's most powerful passport

Lester Mason
October 10, 2018

The 2018 Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.

Having gained visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month, Japanese citizens can now enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a whopping 190 destinations around the world - knocking Singapore, with 189 destinations, into second place.

Japan has overtaken Singapore as the world's strongest passport, claiming top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, Henley & Partners, a residence and citizenship advisory firm, announced in a press release on Tuesday (Oct 9).

In February Japan, tying with Singapore, climbed to the first position with visa-free access to 179 countries following a visa exemption from Uzbekistan.

Since a year ago South Africa has added four new visa-free destinations.

The US and the United Kingdom both give access to 186 destinations with their passports, but neither have gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018. The same is true of China: Chinese nationals obtained access to two new jurisdictions (St. Lucia and Myanmar), but the Chinese passport fell two places, to 71st overall.


The index is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect.

Iraq and Afghanistan share the position of the weakest passport in the world.

Citizens from these Middle Eastern countries only have visa-free access to 30 countries and rank 106th in the list.

Tim Geschwindt, Analyst at S-RM Intelligence and Risk Consulting, says the agreement also speaks to Russia's shifting position within the worldwide community: "The country is continuing to seek improved bilateral relations, as well as trade, investments, and tourism ties, with new partners". Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI programme in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008. Every CBI program country has improved its visa-free/visa-on-arrival score since the start of the year.

For each travel destination, if no visa is required for passport holders from a country or territory, then a score with value = 1 is created for that passport.

As a result, while SA is ranked at 52, there are actually 95 countries with stronger-rated passports on the index.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER