A passport is required for international travel. The most powerful passports in the world provide the most travel freedom. Some passports, however, are considered “stronger” than others.
The strongest passports allow the holder to quickly enter most countries without additional entry requirements, such as visas.
Numerous factors influence travel freedom and passport strength. Henley & Partners Henley Passport Index (HPI) is widely regarded as the authority on passport strength. It ranks every passport in the world based on the amount of travel freedom it provides.
How Do You Determine the Passport's Strength?
All sovereign states issue passports to their citizens. These documents are required for international travel. Many destinations, however, require visitors to have a visa to enter.
In some cases, a country's visa policy may allow travelers of certain nationalities to visit for a limited time without a visa. This is usually due to bilateral agreements between the two countries involved. In these cases, only the traveler's passport is required.
The more countries a traveler can visit without a visa, the more powerful their passport. The Henley Passport Index ranks passports based on the number of destinations holders can visit without a visa (including both embassy visas and online visas).
The HPI gives a passport a high rating if it allows the holder to visit multiple countries with any of the following entry criteria:
- Only a passport
- Online visa waiver / electronic travel authorization (eTA)
- Arrival visas
The World's Strongest Passports for Freedom of Travel
According to the HPI, the most powerful passports in the world in terms of travel freedom in 2022 will be Japanese and Singaporean passports. A passport issued by Japan or Singapore allows the holder to enter 192 countries and territories without the need for a visa. Germany and South Korea share second place.
These countries' passports allow visa-free travel to 190 countries around the world. The majority of the top-ranked passports come from European Union (EU) countries.
Passports from Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain tie for third place, while Austrian, Danish, Dutch, French, and Swedish passports tie for fourth. French, Irish, Portuguese, and British passports are tied for fifth place.
The top ten world passports also include those issued by the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. There are only a few countries that require Americans to obtain a visa. Visas are not required for US passport holders to visit 186 countries.
Similarly, British citizens face few visa requirements, with no visa required in advance for 187 countries and territories. Meanwhile, Australian and Canadian passports are tied for seventh best in the world, allowing visa-free travel to 185 destinations.
For more information on which destinations can be visited without a visa, see the visa requirements for Australians and the visa requirements for Canadians.
What is the Country With the Weakest Passport?
Afghanistan has the world's weakest passport in terms of travel freedom. Afghanistan comes in 112th place on the HPI list. An Afghan passport entitles the holder to enter only 26 countries and territories without first obtaining a visa. Many of these still require travelers to apply for a visa on arrival.
The World's Weakest Passports for Travel Freedom
In the HPI rankings, Iraqi passports are just above those issued by Afghanistan, allowing entry to 28 destinations without a visa prior to the trip. With 29, 31, and 33 visa-free destinations, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen round out the bottom five in 2022.
Japan, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Italy, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, Austria, and Denmark will have the top ten
The World's Top 10 Most Powerful Passports
Japan, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Italy, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, Austria, and Denmark will have the top ten most powerful passports in 2022. However, because many of these are tied for first place, the top ten positions are listed in the table below.
They are listed in descending order based on the number of countries passport holders can visit without first obtaining a visa. The information presented below is based on each passport's current HPI ranking.