Japan and Singapore now have the world’s most powerful passports

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Japan and Singapore have leapfrogged Germany to share the honour of having the world’s most powerful passports.

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In the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, the Asian countries knocked Germany down a rung into second place, for enjoying visa-free access to the greatest number of countries, namely 189.

The index is updated in real-time and ranks the world’s passports based on the number of destinations holders can visit without applying for a visa. The ranking uses data from the International Air Transport Association.

Overall, citizens of EU member states saw no improvement in their global access since last year, mainly because their inbound policies are so restrictive, said Florian Trauner, a professor at the Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels.

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He said: “The current political climate in the EU is not conducive to more liberal admission policies and in the wake of the Brexit vote, the UK has been trying to install a stricter immigration regime vis-à-vis both EU and non-EU citizens.”

Despite President Trump’s controversial travel bans, the US passport’s standing is likely to remain unaffected, as weak economies can’t afford to close the door to bigger countries that send large inflows of tourists.

And while Russia waived visa requirements for the World Cup this year, it wasn’t able to earn reciprocal access to new destinations gaining just one spot on the index to 46th position.

The Philippines, meanwhile, ranks in 72nd place, with visa-free access to 66 destinations. Regionally, it ranks 7th among 11 countries in Southeast Asia. The Philippines dropped two spots overall from the last index, when the country was at 70th place.

The world’s most powerful passports:

1. Japan, Singapore

2. Germany

3. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, South Korea

4. Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, USA

5. Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada

6. Australia, Greece

7. New Zealand, Czech Republic, Malta

8. Iceland

9. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia

10. Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania

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