In the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, the Asian countries knocked Germany down a rung to second place, for enjoying visa-free access to the greatest number of countries – 189.
The index is updated in real-time and ranks the world’s passports based on the number of destinations holders can access without applying for a visa. The ranking uses data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Overall, nationals of European Union member states saw no improvement in their global access since last year, mainly because their inbound policies are so restrictive, said Florian Trauner, a professor at the Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels.
“The current political climate in the EU is not conducive to more liberal admission policies” and “in the wake of the Brexit vote, the UK has been trying to install a stricter immigration regime vis-à-vis both EU and non-EU citizens.”
Despite US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel bans, experts said the US passport’s standing will likely remain unaffected, as weak economies can’t afford to shut out bigger countries that send large inflows of tourists.
And while Russia waived visa requirements for the World Cup this year, it wasn’t able to earn reciprocal access to new destinations, the report adds, gaining just one spot on the index to 46th position.
Here are the country standings:
1. Japan, Singapore
3. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, South Korea
4. Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, USA
5. Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada
6. Australia, Greece
7. New Zealand, Czech Republic, Malta
9. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia
10. Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania