Six countries earned the title of the most powerful passports in 2024 – all guaranteeing visa-free travel to 194 out of 227 destinations.
The four EU member states now share the crown with Singapore and Japan as the number one passport in the quarterly Henley Passport Index. They are: Spain, Germany, France and Italy.
In the past five years, the index has been dominated by two Asian countries.
In second place are countries such as South Korea, Finland and Sweden with visa-free access to 193 destinations. Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Austria took third place. The United Kingdom moved up two places to fourth.
Australia and New Zealand took sixth place, while the US held on to seventh place in the Henley rankings.
The 19-year-old global passport ranking was based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority, or IATA, which ranks the world’s passports by the number of destinations their holders can reach without a prior visa.
The general trend shown in the ranking was toward greater freedom of travel, with the average number of destinations that travelers can access visa-free nearly doubling from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024, said Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners.
However, he noted that the gap in global mobility between those at the top and bottom of the index had become “wider than ever”.
First, the top-ranked passports allow visa-free travel to 166 more destinations, compared to Afghanistan, which only has access to 28 countries and is last in the rankings.
The UAE was the index’s “biggest climber” over the past decade, jumping from 55th in 2014 to 11th, the report said.
Other notable mobility improvements include Ukraine and China, which have moved up two places over the past year. China is now 62nd in the index, Ukraine is now 32nd.