Singapore has overtaken Japan to become the strongest passport in 2023! Yes, if you look at the latest global rankings, you’ll realize Japan is no longer the most powerful passport in the world. Shockingly enough, the United States ranks even lower than Japan, along with Italy, Spain, Austria, and many more.
Now, in case you’re wondering how the Singapore passport became stronger than the American passport and where the other countries stand, here are our two cents on the passport ranking of 2023. Wondering. Well then, let’s get into the details!
To start with, passport rankings assess the global travel freedom of different countries’ passports. That is based on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. These rankings are usually updated in real time to reflect changes in visa policies. There are several organizations that publish passport rankings, such as the Henley Passport Index and the Passport Index.
Henley Passport Index
According to the latest available data in 2023, the Henley Passport Index ranks passports based on the number of visa-free and visa-on-arrival destinations they offer. The ranking is determined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and enhanced by Henley & Partners’ research team. The Henley Passport Index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations.
For five years, Japan held the No.1 spot on the Henley Passport Index, a comprehensive ranking system that measures global travel freedom based on visa-free and visa-on-demand access to different countries. However, the scenario has shifted in Singapore’s favor as Singaporean citizens currently have visa-free access to a staggering 193 out of 227 destinations worldwide!
Apart from Henley, as per the 2023 Global Passport Power Rank from the Passport Index, Singapore has the top-ranking passport as well. The countries in the second position, with visa-free access to 190 destinations, are Germany, Italy, and Spain. In the third position, with access to 189 destinations, there is a group of countries including Japan, South Korea, Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Unfortunately, the United States has dropped to the eighth position with access to 183 destinations visa-free. The United Kingdom has improved its position to fourth place in the ranking.
It’s important to note that the rankings are subject to change as countries update their visa policies. For reference, citizens of Afghanistan have the least travel freedom with access to only 27 destinations without a prior visa.
Singapore Tops the Ranking
Amidst a major shake-up in the global passport rankings for the year of 2023, the spotlight has shifted as Singapore’s passport claims the coveted top position, surpassing Japan and even the United States. This momentous achievement is a testament to the unparalleled travel freedom and access Singaporean citizens now enjoy. So now, let’s take a look at the other continent’s positioning and delve into the reasons behind Singapore’s remarkable rise and explore why its passport is considered more powerful than that of other prominent nations.
Europe & Asia On The Rise
While Asia has traditionally dominated the top of the passport rankings, Europe is making a resurgence. Germany, Italy, and Spain have climbed to second place, alongside Japan and South Korea. Citizens of these nations, along with Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, and Sweden, enjoy visa-free access to 190 destinations, bolstering Europe’s passport power.
UK Bounces Back
The United Kingdom’s passport has experienced a revival, climbing two places to occupy the fourth position on the 2023 ranking. After a six-year decline, the UK has shown positive momentum, recapturing its position last held in 2017.
US Ongoing Slide
In stark contrast, the United States has witnessed a decade-long slide down the passport index. The US passport now ranks eighth, providing access to a mere 184 destinations visa-free. The country’s passport has seen the smallest increase in its index score among the top 10 countries over the last decade.
Singapore’s Success Factors
Singapore’s ascent to the top spot can be attributed to its proactive efforts in securing greater travel freedom for its citizens. Over the past decade, Singapore has significantly increased its score by 25, surpassing rivals like Japan and the US.
Travel Freedom Gap
The 2023 passport ranking highlights the increasing disparity between countries at the top and bottom of the index. Singapore, being on top, enjoys 165 more destinations than Afghanistan, which holds the lowest rank with only 27 visa-free destinations.
Implications for US Soft Power
The decline in the US passport ranking is a matter of concern for the nation’s soft power. The reduced travel freedom may impact businesses inviting international partners for meetings and tourists facing application delays, potentially affecting the country’s global influence.
In 2023, as the travel landscape continues to evolve, the value of a powerful passport like Singapore’s becomes even more significant. This also presents various opportunities and challenges for nations in their pursuit of global influence.
To wrap it all up, the shift in passport rankings can be attributed to Singapore’s strong diplomatic relationships with other nations and its continuous improvement in passport power. In contrast, the United States has experienced quite a decline, falling to the eighth position due to several factors affecting its diplomatic relations.
This significant difference highlights the importance of diplomatic ties in determining passport rankings and global travel privileges. So, how long do you suppose Singapore can stay on top? Can mighty Japan supersede Singapore any time soon?