Four European countries and two Asian ones have all taken the top spot for most powerful passports in the world this 2024, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 194 destinations.
A passport is not only a tangible representation of one’s citizenship to a particular country, but also a key to wider opportunities and exciting experiences. That said, not all passports are created equal, as citizens of certain (usually first-world) countries have more travel benefits to enjoy than others. The main perk is, of course, visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to a wider range of destinations around the world.
Holders of Philippine passports can attest that the long wait and costly experience of applying for visas can be a hindrance to mobility—or at the very least, they pose quite the inconvenience. Hence, having a passport that exempts someone from such tedious processes (or streamlines them) is certainly a covetable position to be in. So, which nations hold the most powerful passports in the world this 2024?
The Big Six
Most rankings are based on the Henley Passport Index, set up by global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, as per Angela Simons of Euronews. The firm has been running the index for 19 years, and bases its findings on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In essence, a point is awarded to a country for every destination citizens can travel to without a visa. Euronews adds that this includes instances where holders can enter through “visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA).”
Henley’s 2024 Global Passport Ranking places six countries at the top spot on its list. Four of them are European nations France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Meanwhile, the other two are Asia’s reigning passport powers, Singapore and Japan. This is nothing new for both countries, as they’ve taken top spots on the index for the past five years, reports Alex Millson for Time.
The six countries rank the highest for granting their holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to a jaw-dropping 194 destinations. For perspective, the total number of places one can visit across the globe is 227, as per Time.
Finland, Sweden, and South Korea’s passports are in second place within the rankings, and are also quite powerful, falling just one destination short of the top six with visa-free travel to 193 territories. Meanwhile, third placers Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands grant passport holders the power to visit 192 countries visa-free.
“The average number of destinations travelers are able to access visa-free has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024,” explains Christian H. Kaelin, the chair of Henley & Partners and creator of its passport index, in a feature by CNN’s Maureen O’Hare.
At a time when many people are looking to “revenge travel” to thrilling and lavish destinations around the world, to hold one of these passports is certainly a perk that’ll take you far—quite literally.
Banner photo by CardMapr.nl via Unsplash.