German citizens possess the world’s most powerful passport, according to an annual study, with Britain and the US falling just short of the top spot. The ranking by Henley & Partners, a citizenship and planning firm, takes into account how many countries can be visited without applying for a visa. German passport holders can travel to 177, out of a possible 218, while Britons can visit 175 and US citizens 174.
The UK topped the 2015 rankings, alongside Germany, but ceded the top spot after several countries relaxed visa restrictions to the latter. It was also leapfrogged by Sweden and now shares third place with France, Italy, Spain and Finland. Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands share fourth spot with the US.
The world’s least powerful passport belongs to citizens of Afghanistan, who can visit just 25 countries without a visa.
“Four countries in particular made huge gains; Tonga rising 16 spots, Palau by 20, Colombia by 25 and Timor-Leste being the highest climber with an increase of 33 ranks.
“Portugal, which holds the most attractive residence-by-investment program through its Golden Visa Program, has taken 6th position in the 2016 Index, gaining two countries to total 172 countries its citizens may travel toglobal progress in travel freedom looks set to continue for citizens of all countries.”
The world’s most powerful passports
- Germany, 177 countries can be visited without a visa
- Sweden, 176
- Finland, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, 175
- Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, United States, 174
- Austria, Japan, Singapore, 173
- Canada, Ireland (Republic of), Korea (Republic of, South), Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, 172
- Greece, New Zealand, 171
- Australia, 169
- Malta, 168
- Hungary, Czech Republic, Iceland, 167
The world’s least powerful passports
- Afghanistan, 25 countries can be visited without a visa
- Pakistan, 29
- Iraq, 30
- Somalia, 31
- Syria, 32
- Libya, 36
- Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Nepal, Palestinian Territory, Sudan, 37
- Kosovo, South Sudan, Yemen, 38
- Bangladesh, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Lebanon, Sri Lanka, 39
- Burundi, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of, North), Myanmar, 42