By Lucy Buglass
If you’ve ever wondered which passports are the most travel-friendly, the Henley Passport Index has revealed the most powerful ones.
Both top spots are in Asia, with Japan and Singapore being named as the world’s most travel-friendly passports for 2019.
They’ve reached the top of the leaderboard because both countries offer access to 190 countries each, which is good news for citizens who are keen to explore the world.
South Korea, Finland and Germany have taken second place with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a visa prior to their visit.
Finland in particular has benefited from changes made to Pakistan’s once highly restrictive visa policy. It has since been updated, and Pakistan now offers an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to citizens of 50 countries.
These include Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, but not the US or the UK.
In third place is Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg. These countries offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 187 countries.
France, Spain and Sweden are in fourth place with a score of 186.
As for the UK, it shares sixth place with the US. However, in 2014 both countries topped the rankings so they have slipped down in recent years. In our case, it has something to do with recent Brexit negotiations.
Speaking about the UK’s ranking in particular, The Henley Passport Index’s press release in July read, ‘With its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain.’
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has climbed five places to rank 15th place.
Speaking about the UAE change, Lorraine Charles at Cambridge University’s Centre for Business Research said, ‘While the UAE may not be able to compete with Saudi Arabia -- the regional hegemon -- in terms of military strength and economic power, the projection of its soft power is uncontested in the GCC.’
The worst passport in the world to hold is Afghanistan, only giving citizens visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 25 countries.
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