Japan has overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, according to a press release on October 9, 2018.
After having visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month, Japan now enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, compared to Singapore’s total of 189.
Japan and Singapore have been neck and neck on the index since they both climbed to 1st place in February. following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan. They have pushed Germany down to 2nd place for the first time since 2014.
Germany has fallen further to third place this quarter, sharing the position with South Korea and France. The three countries all have a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 188.
Iraq and Afghanistan continue to hold the bottom (106th) spot of the Henley Passport Index, with only 30 destinations accessible to their citizens.
“The Henley Passport Index is an important tool for measuring not only the relative strength of the world’s passports but also the extraordinary results that states can achieve when they work hand in hand with their global peers to build a more interconnected and collaborative world," said Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners.
The index and its contents are based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and supplemented using extensive in-house research and open-source online data.
"The key to building passport strength is reciprocity. If countries want to improve their own citizens’ prospects, they need to adopt more open policies towards nationals of other countries," said Mr Dominic Volek, Managing Partner of Henley & Partners Singapore.
He added that as the world economy has become increasingly globalised, the need for greater visa-free access has grown steadily. More individuals want to transcend the constraints imposed on them by their country of origin and access opportunities on a global scale.
"The Henley Passport Index allows individuals to assess where they lie on the spectrum of global mobility. It also allows governments to understand the relative international value they are providing their citizens and how this value is changing over time."
In addition, the index allows those interested in improving their passport power to explore various citizenship-by-investment options, which would enable them to acquire a second or additional passport," Mr Volek said.