Singapore passport falls to second most powerful in the world as it loses out to Japan yet again

Singapore lost out to Japan by just one jurisdiction, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 190 destinations.
Lianhe Zaobao

It’s 2020, and Singapore’s passport still can’t seem to beat out Japan’s.

According to the latest rankings released on the Henley Passport Index released on Tuesday (Jan 7), the Japanese passport remains the most powerful in the world, granting citizens visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 191 destinations worldwide.

Singapore came in at second place, losing out by just one jurisdiction at 190 destinations.

A tie between Germany and South Korea (189 each) rounds out the top three spots on the list of the most powerful passports in the world at the moment.

Last year, Singapore and Japan were locked in a 18-month tie for the most powerful passport in the world.

According to The Straits Times, the tie was broken by easier access to Saudi Arabia on the Japanese passport.

The Henley Passport Index – which is updated in real time throughout the year when visa policy changes come into effect – is based on authoritative data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

While Asian countries dominated this year’s index, European passports fared well too, with Finnish and Italian passports jointly taking the fourth spot with access to 188 countries.

Countries that tied for fifth are Denmark, Luxembourg, and Spain, with access to 187 countries.

Meanwhile, other Asian passports in the top 20 include Malaysia (178) at 13th and Hong Kong (169) at 20th.

Dr Christian Kaelin, chairman of Henley and Partners, said in a statement that the Asian dominance of the top spots is a “clear argument for the benefits of open-door policies”  and that the world is adapting to mobility as a “permanent condition of global life”.

“The latest rankings show that the countries that embrace this reality are thriving, with their citizens enjoying ever-increasing passport power and the array of benefits that come with it,” he added.

Henley and Partners also noted that the US and UK are continuing their downward trajectory on the rankings. Although both countries remain in the top 10, their shared eighth place position is a significant decline from the number one spot they jointly held in 2015.

Additionally, the report noted that the global mobility gap is the “starkest it has been since the index’s inception in 2006”, with a Japanese passport holder now able to access 165 more countries than an Afghan national.

Afghanistan citizens, who have the weakest passport, can access only 26 destinations without a visa.

Here are the top 10 most powerful passports in 2020:

 

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