It’s easy to take for granted the ease in which we can visit most countries as a Westerner.
Most of the time, it’s a case of popping out the passport and booking a flight – to almost anywhere we want to go in the world.
Sure, longer stays can be problematic and generally require some form of visas and supporting documentation, but when it comes to a cosy couple of weeks or a weekend jaunt, we’re generally all set with minimal issues.
A new index by immigration company Henley & Partners has compiled rankings for every country in the world to figure out which has the most powerful passport – as in, which passports can enter the most amount of countries without needing a visa.
Here’s the top ten rankings, along with the number of countries they can enter visa-free:
- Germany (177)
- Sweden (176)
- Finland, France, Italy, Spain, UK (175)
- Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, USA (174)
- Austria, Japan, Singapore (173)
- Canada, Ireland, South Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland (172)
- Greece, New Zealand (171)
- Australia (169)
- Malta (168)
- Hungary, Czech Republic, Iceland (167)
Predictably, European countries dominate the top ten, interspersed with a few other major Western players when it comes to international diplomacy; namely, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
The only Asian countries to break the top ten were Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
But what happens, if by the total randomness of life’s lottery, you were unlucky enough to be born outside of these nations – where can you travel to then?
Comparatively much fewer countries, in essence.
A What’s On Sukhumvit contributor recently wrote about his own troubles concerning his travel restrictions thanks to his Pakistani passport, noting that the stringent visa rules in many countries he wished to travel to are so strict that they make him feel “as if I’m on bail from prison.”
Here are the weakest ranked passports in the world, according to how many countries they can access visa-free:
- Liberia (43)
- Burundi, North Korea, Myanmar (42)
- Bangladesh, Dem Rep of Congo, Lebanon, Sri Lanka (39)
- Kosovo, South Sudan, Yemen (38)
- Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Nepal, Palestine, Sudan (37)
- Libya (36)
- Syria (32)
- Somalia (31)
- Iraq (30)
- Pakistan (29)
- Afghanistan (25)
A trend can just as easily be spotted here too: the bottom ranked countries are dominated by African and Middle Eastern nations, with a couple of Asian anomalies, namely Myanmar and North Korea.
The Thai passport is ranked in 67th position – alongside Oman – with visa-free access to 71 countries.
Featured image is by hjl and used under a Creative Commons licence