Ranked: The World's Least Powerful Passports

Travelers from these countries face hurdles going abroad, from lengthy forms to extra fees.
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Ranked: The World's Least Powerful Passports Newsweek

When it comes to passport power, some countries have it better than others. There remains a huge disparity when it comes to how much access citizens of wealthier countries have compared to their counterparts in developing nations.

Henley & Partners annual Passport Index highlights these disparities. Their 2018 index, released this week, examined the travel policies and international relations of 199 different countries, counting how many travel destinations each citizen could travel to without needing a visa, or by getting a visa on arrival.

The ranking reveals that Japan has overtaken Singapore to become the world's most powerful passport, granting its citizens visa-free access to 190 countries. Most of the remaining top nations are located in Europe.

On the other end of the ranking, it's a very different story. The two nations which tie at last place in terms of passport power, Iraq and Afghanistan, are only granted visa-free access to 30 destinations. Other countries near the bottom, such as Syria and Somalia, are mostly located in the Middle East or Africa.

Travelers from these countries face extra hurdles when going abroad, such as proof of savings in the bank, lengthy forms and visa appointments, proof of return flights and pre-booked hotels, as well as extra fees. Opportunities for working and studying abroad are also limited.

However, some are optimistic about these country's future prospects. "Overall, the Middle East and North Africa region has maintained a positive trajectory on the Henley Passport Index for the first half of 2018, with every country in the region—bar Palestine—increasing its score over the period," says Ryan Cummings, the Director of Signal Risk, a political and security risk-management consultancy.

"The region's overall improvement in score does at the very least infer a positive trajectory for the power of its constituent passports and perhaps for the issues constraining their mobility," he added.

Using the Henley Passport Index, we've ranked the fifty passports that currently offer the least freedom of movement to their citizens.

46. Guinea. Visa-free access to 56 destinations. GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images