THE race to become the world’s most powerful passport is real, with countries constantly scrambling to knock each other off the charts.
In July, Singapore climbed up to be a joint first place with Japan, which held the most powerful passport title since earlier this year.
The new rankings saw Japanese and Singaporean passports granting their holders access to 189 nations either visa-free or with visa-on-arrival, the highest number of countries accessible without a visa since borders were enforced, nations divided, and passports became mandatory.
But that has changed.
Japan has now overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot, according to the 2018 Henley Passport Index.
The East Asian country had recently gained visa-free access to Burma (Myanmar), granting it visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations.
Singapore still enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to a total of 189 destinations.
Both Japanese and Singaporean passports allow travellers a 30-day visa-free stay in Uzbekistan along with Isreali, South Korean, Tajikistanian, Turkish, Malaysian, and Indonesian passport holders.
Meanwhile, Germany, which held the title since 2013 only to be knocked off by Singapore and Japan, has fallen further to third place.
Together with South Korea and France, its nationals enjoy visa-free access to 188 countries.
As for the least powerful passports in the world, Iraq and Afghanistan continue to rank poorly at 106th place, with access to only 30 countries.
The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.
The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of travel information, and is enhanced by extensive in-house research.
This article first appeared on our sister website Travel Wire Asia.