In a resounding demonstration of Asia’s growing power and influence on the world stage, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea now hold the joint top spot on the Henley Passport Index, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 189. These latest results consolidate 12 months of Asian dominance after Japan first climbed to the top spot in February last year.
Following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan, Germany currently sits alone in 2nd place, with a score of 188. Five countries now share 3 rd place on the index – which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – with a score of 187: Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden. The UK and the US look increasingly unlikely to regain the top spot they jointly held in 2015, with the UK now siting in 5th place with a visa-free/visa on arrival score of 185, and the US in 6th, with a score of 184. Afghanistan and Iraq remain at the bottom of the ranking with a score of just 30, a position one or both countries have occupied throughout the index’s 14-year history.
Global headlines for Q2 2019
· Japan, Singapore, and South Korea hold the joint top spot on the Henley Passport Index .
· Germany has risen to 2nd place, up from the 3rd place it held with France.
· France remains in 3rd place, a position it now shares with Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Sweden.
· The UK is in 5th place, while the US is in 6th.
· The UK’s Brexit process has not yet had a marked effect on the country’s standing on the index. Its fall from the 3rd place it held in 2016 is a result of gains made by Asian countries and not a direct consequence of Brexit.
· There are now 32 countries in the top 10 positions on the Henley Passport Index, with European countries accounting for the majority of these spots.
· Iraq and Afghanistan continue to hold the bottom (104th) spot on the index, with only 30 destinations accessible visa-free or with a visa on arrival.
Regional headlines for Q2 2019
· In Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, and South Africa, respectively, continue to hold the top 3 spots. South Africa has dropped 16 spots over the past decade.
· In the Middle East, the UAE is in 1st place, Israel is in in 2nd place, and Turkey is in 3rd place.
· In the Caribbean, the top 3 spots are held by Barbados, the Bahamas, and St. Kitts and Nevis, respectively.
· In Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Ukraine holds 1st place, Moldova holds 2nd place, and Russia holds 3 rd place. Moldova has climbed 21 places since 2009, while Ukraine has climbed 22 places. Georgia, in 4th, has climbed 17 places.
· In Southeast Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei, respectively, hold the top 3 spots, while Myanmar, in 91st place, remains poorest performer in the region. The country has dropped six places over the past decade, while the Philippines has dropped 11.
· In North Asia, Japan and South Korea are the global and regional leaders. China is the highest regional climber in North Asia over the past decade, having moved 12 spots up the ranking since 2009. North Korea, in 96 th place globally, remains the poorest performer in the region. The country has dropped 13 places over the past decade.
UAE, Albania, and China Leap Up the Ranking
The UAE continues its upward trajectory and is now just one spot away from entry into the index’s top 20. After the recent formalization of a mutual visa-waiver agreement signed with Russia, UAE passport holders are now able to access 165 destinations around the world without a prior visa. This current score marks an extraordinary ascent from the position the UAE held a decade ago, when the country shared joint 61st place with Thailand and Zimbabwe and had a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 52.