Japan maintained the top spot for the fifth year in a row, but where does Uganda rank
KAMPALA –After analysing exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association –IATA- Henley and Partners announced the world’s most – and least- powerful passports for 2023. The firm developed the index based on the number of destinations passport holders could access without a prior visa.
This year sees Japan crowned number one for the fifth consecutive time, as Japanese citizens are now able to visit 193 destinations out of 227 countries visa-free. South Korean and Singaporean passports are tied for second place with a visa-free score of 192.
A slew of European countries follow this trio of passports, including Germany and Spain, which are tied for third place, boasting a visa-free score of 190 countries worldwide. Finland, Italy and Luxembourg follow in fourth place with a score of 189. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden landed in fifth place, scoring 188.
The United Kingdom and United States of America are in sixth and seventh place, respectively on 187 and 186 scores, nearly a decade after jointly holding the top spot in 2014.
Afghanistan with visa-free entry score of 27; Iraq 29; and Syria remain at the bottom of the Henley Passport Index.
Seychelles tops the African continent at 29th in the world with 153 points as Mauritius follows in 34th with 146 destinations.
South Africa is in a distant 53rd ahead of ahead of its neighbour, Botswana, which is 63rd as Namibia ranks 67th, Lesotho 69th, and eSwatini 71st. Then the trio of East Africa in Malawi 72nd, Kenya 73rd and Tanzania at 74th follow.
The Zambian passport is the eleventh most powerful in Africa, at 75th place, followed by Tunisia 76th, Gambia 77th, as Uganda and Zimbabwe are ranked 14 and 15, respectively (78th and 79th) overall. Ghana and Morocco share 80th place, ahead of Sierra Leone in 81st position, Mozambique 82nd, Benin and Rwanda 83rd, Sao Tome and Principe 84th and Mauritania 85th.
West African passports have more or less the same value, with Burkina Faso ranking 86th, ahead of Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Senegal 87th. Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Madagascar and Togo are in 88th position.
Some 21 African countries fall between 89th and 101st place (with the same number of points in most cases).
The least envious African passport is that of Somalia, which ranks 104th with 35 points. Seven points more than the least powerful passport in the world, of Afghanistan in 109th place.
The ranking is based on proprietary data from IATA, which maintains the travel information database. The Index’s scoring system was developed to give users a nuanced, practical and reliable insight into the power of their Passport.
Each passport is scored based on the total number of destinations its holder can access without a visa. For each travel destination, if no visa is required, a score of 1 is assigned to that passport. This also applies if passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival, a visit permit or an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) on entry.
Where a visa is required or where the passport holder must apply for a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) prior to departure, a score of 0 is assigned. The same applies if he needs to obtain pre-departure approval for a visa on arrival.
Global travel is at around 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and there is no doubt that the top spots will be taking advantage of the freedom their passports provide, travelling to some of the most beautiful places in the world and booking trips to the best places to visit in 2023.
List of the world’s 10 most powerful passports for 2023
Singapore, South Korea 192
Germany, Spain 190
Finland, Italy, Luxembourg 189
Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden 188
France, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom 187
Belgium, Czech Republic, New Zealand,
Norway, Switzerland, United States 186
Australia, Canada, Greece, Malta 185
Hungary, Poland 184
Lithuania, Slovakia 183
Full list here; 2023 Passport Index