Japan has the world’s strongest passport; Afghanistan, at rank 107, the weakest. The Indian passport is closer to the bottom, ranked 84th in the world, according to the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, widely acknowledged to be the most reliable of such rankings.
According to Henley & Partners, the residence and citizenship planning firm that publishes the ranking, the Index lists the world’s passports “according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa”. The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association of some 290 airlines, including all major carriers.
The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations, the publisher of the rankings said in a press release last week. The data are updated in real time as and when visa policy changes come into effect, the release said.
Japan has been topping the Index for three straight years; according to the 2020 index, its citizens are able to access 191 destinations without having to obtain a visa in advance.
Singapore, in second place (same as in 2019), has a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 190. Germany is No. 3 (same position as in 2019), with access to 189 destinations; it shares this position with South Korea, which dropped from the second place it held a year ago, the release said.
The US and the UK have been falling consistently over successive Indices. Both countries are in eighth place in 2020; a significant decline from the No. 1 spot they jointly held in 2015.
“The Index’s historic success story remains the steady ascent of the UAE, which has climbed a remarkable 47 places over the past 10 years and now sits in 18th place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 171,” the release said.
Since the index began in 2006, the Indian passport has ranked in a band of 71st to 88th. (The number of passports ranked has, however, varied from year to year.) The Indian passport’s 2020 ranking of 84th translates into visa-free access to 58 destinations, including 33 which give Indians visas on arrival. The Indian passport ranked higher in both 2019 (82, with visa-free access to 59 destinations) and 2018 (81, with visa-free access to 60 destinations).
Twenty of the 58 visa-free access destinations in the 2020 list are in Africa, and 11 each in Asia and the Caribbean. Serbia is the only European country to which Indian passport holders can travel visa-free. There is no major or developed country to which Indian passport holders have visa-free access.
The top 10 most powerful passports this year are ranked in this order: Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg and Denmark.
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