Ranked: The World's Most Powerful Passports

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The U.S. continues to slip down the rankings. Getty Images

When it comes to having the world’s most powerful passport, Singaporeans are no longer king.

The 2018 Henley & Partners Passport Index 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.

They found that 2017’s most powerful country, Singapore, has been knocked from the top spot by Japan. A Japanese passport now guarantees visa-free access to 190 destinations, one more than Singapore’s 189.

Germany fell into third place, with 188 visa-free destinations, the same amount as France and South Korea. The majority of the top 20 most powerful countries are in Europe.

The year’s biggest climber was Georgia, which rose 18 places in the past year. Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) both rose 17 places. The UAE has climbed an impressive 40 places since 2008.

The U.S. ties with Norway, the United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal in fifth place, with visa-free access to 186 destinations.

The U.S. and U.K. have both slid one spot down the rankings since last year, when they were both at fourth place—neither gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018.

“With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, it seems increasingly unlikely that the U.S. and the U.K. will regain the number 1 spot they jointly held in 2015,” the report says.

Benefits of a powerful passport include ease of travel, fewer fees and more overseas employment and study opportunities. Some 143 countries saw more visa-free destinations added to their passport in 2017, while seven countries saw a reduction.

Using this data from the Henley & Partners Passport Index, these are the 50 most powerful passports in the world today.

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21. United Arab Emirates.
Visa-free access to 161 destinations.
Francois Nel/Getty Images
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21. Barbados.
Visa-free access to 161 destinations.
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21. Israel.
Visa-free access to 161 destinations.
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20. Brunei.
Visa-free access to 165 destinations.
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19. San Marino.
Visa-free access to 168 destinations.
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19. Andorra.
Visa-free access to 168 destinations.
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18. Romania.
Visa-free access to 169 destinations.
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18. Bulgaria.
Visa-free access to 169 destinations.
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18. Croatia.
Visa-free access to 169 destinations.
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17. Hong Kong.
Visa-free access to 170 destinations.
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17. Argentina.
Visa-free access to 170 destinations.
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