Passport eGates: Home Office outlines how to use them
A passport is an important tool for international travellers. However, each country has a very different passport – and not all are as strong as each other. The latest Henley Passport Index unveiled the most powerful passports for the first quarter of 2021 this week.
The index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
So which country has the world’s strongest passport right now?
Japan was named as the nation with the most powerful passport, coming in with a visa-free score of 191.
“Without taking temporary restrictions into account, Japan continues to hold the number one position on the index, with passport holders able to access 191 destinations around the world visa-free,” said the index.
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“This marks the third consecutive year that Japan has held the top spot, either alone or jointly with Singapore.”
This year, Singapore came in second place with a score of 190.
In third place were South Korea and Germany jointly.
“Asia Pacific (APAC) region countries’ dominance of the index — which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — now seems firmly established,” the index detailed.
“Singapore sits in second position, with access to 190 destinations, and South Korea holds onto third place alongside Germany, with both having a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 189.”
Meanwhile, the UK ranked in seventh place alongside Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the USA, with a visa-free score of 185.
The index said: “With the US and the UK still facing significant challenges related to the virus, and the passport strength of both countries continuing to steadily erode, the balance of power is shifting.
“Over the past seven years, the US passport has fallen from the number one spot to seventh place, a position it currently shares with the UK.
“Due to pandemic-related travel constraints, travellers from both the UK and the US currently face major restrictions from over 105 countries, with US passport holders able to travel to fewer than 75 destinations, while UK passport holders currently have access to fewer than 70.”
Dr Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, said the latest ranking provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary upheaval that characterised 2020.
“Just a year ago all indications were that the rates of global mobility would continue to rise, that travel freedom would increase, and that holders of powerful passports would enjoy more access than ever before,” he said.
“The global lockdown negated these glowing projections, and as restrictions begin to lift, the results from the latest index are a reminder of what passport power really means in a world upended by the pandemic.”
Industry experts now believe that mandatory vaccination before air travel may soon be a necessity as more and more countries start rolling out a vaccine programme.
“A technological innovation scheduled to launch in Q1 2021 that will contribute to restoring global mobility is IATA’s Travel Pass initiative – a mobile application that enables travellers to store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines,” said the Henley Passport Index.
Most Powerful Passports Q1 2021
1. Japan – 191
2. Singapore – 190
3. Germany & South Korea – 189
4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg & Spain – 188
5. Austria & Denmark -187
6. Frace, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal & Sweden -186
7. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom & United States – 185
8. Australia, Czech Republic, Greece & Malta -184
9. Canada – 183
10. Hungary – 182
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