As 2022 begins, latest results from the Henley Passport Index show record-breaking levels of travel freedom for top-ranking nations Japan and Singapore. However, the report also revealed that there was the widest recorded global mobility gap since the index’s inception 17 years ago.
"Without taking temporary COVID-related restrictions into account, passport holders of the two Asian nations can now enter 192 destinations around the world visa-free – 166 more than Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the index," the Henley Passport Index, which ranks all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa stated.
As per the latest report of the first quarter of 2022, India has improved its passport power, climbing seven places to rank 83rd compared to the 90th position in 2021. It now has has access to 60 countries without a prior visa. In 2021, the visa free scope was for 58 countries. Oman and Armenia are the latest destinations added into the list of prior visa requirement.
Furthermore, Germany and South Korea held onto the joint second spot on the latest ranking, with passport holders able to access 190 destinations visa-free, while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain shared third place with a score of 189. The US and the UK passports regained some of their previous strength after falling all the way to eighth place in 2020 – the lowest spot held by either country in the index’s 17-year history. Both countries now sit in sixth place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 186.
The most powerful passports to hold in 2022 are:
1. Japan, Singapore (192 destinations)
2. Germany, South Korea (190)
3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (189)
4. Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Sweden (188)
5. Ireland, Portugal (187)
6. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (186)
7. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185)
8. Poland, Hungary (183)
9. Lithuania, Slovakia (182)
10. Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia (181)
The worst passports to hold in 2022:
104. North Korea (39 destinations)
105. Nepal and Palestinian territories (37)
106. Somalia (34)
107. Yemen (33)
108. Pakistan (31)
109. Syria (29)
110. Iraq (28)
111. Afghanistan (26)
The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is updated in real time throughout the year as and when visa policy changes come into effect. The index is based on exclusive data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and has been regularly monitoring the world's most travel-friendly passports since 2006.
Commenting on the pandemic’s effect on global travel, Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, said opening up migration channels is essential for post-pandemic recovery.
“Passports and visas are among the most important instruments impacting on social inequality worldwide as they determine opportunities for global mobility. The borders within which we happen to be born, and the documents we are entitled to hold, are no less arbitrary than our skin color. Wealthier states need to encourage positive inward migration in an effort to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources worldwide, including improving the size and quality of their own workforces,” Kaelin said.
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