10 most powerful passports in 2017
The UAE passport is the most valuable GCC passport.
Arton Capital, the global advisory for residence and citizenship solutions, has updated the Passport Index, the popular global ranking of the world's passports.
The Index ranks national passports by the cross-border access they bring, assigning a "visa-free score" according to the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival.
Germany takes the lead with a visa-free score of 157. Singapore overtakes South Korea and becomes the highest ranked Asian passport, with a visa free score of 156, coming second. The UAE is the leading GCC country with a score of 122, followed by Kuwait (81), and Qatar with a score of 77.
Lowest-scoring MENA countries are war-thorn Iraq and Syria, while the world's least-desirable passport goes again to Afghanistan, with a score of just 23. Pakistan (26), Sri Lanka (35), and India (46) highlight the continued lack of access for South Asian passports.
Visitors to passportindex.org can also see changes to the ranking of countries in 2016. Marshall Islands is on top of the winners' list by adding 35 countries to its visa-free score. Palau, Micronesia, follow with 34 additional countries, while Solomon Islands and Tuvalu added 33. Peru is the biggest winner in South America with additional 31 countries.
The newly added World Openness Score (WOS) tracks the progression of freedom of mobility across the globe. The world openness score in 2016 was 17,925. In the first few days of 2017, the score has increased to 17,948. This trend shows opening of borders but will it continue? With the recent backlash against globalisation and ongoing immigration issues, the World Openness Score may be in danger of decline.
The comparison tool also has a newly added Improve function, which demonstrates how the addition of one or more passports to an existing travel document can improve the holder's Global Mobility Score (GMS). For example, a Lebanese citizen has a GMS of 38. However, by adding a passport of Saint Lucia, their Global Mobility Score increases drastically to 123, which would represent the possibility of visa-free travel to over 61% of the countries we examine. For many people, this is priceless.
According to John Hanafin, CEO of Arton Capital, "The desire to improve opportunity and security transcends borders. As such, having a second citizenship has never been more relevant."
In recent years, citizenship by investment has become a US$2B industry, with over 20,000 investors seeking a second residency or citizenship around the globe very year.
New Top 10 Passport Power Ranking:
- 157 - Germany
- 156 - Singapore, Sweden
- 155 - Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, UK, USA
- 154 - Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal, Japan
- 153 - Malaysia, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand
- 152 - Greece, South Korea, Australia
- 151 - Czech Republic, Iceland
- 150 - Hungary
- 149 - Malta, Poland
- 148 - Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia
New Top 10 Individual Passport Power Ranking:
- United Kingdom