How do we compare the value of one passport versus another? There are a number of factors in play, when it comes to determining the most valuable passport.

According to the new edition of the Henley Passport Index, the Spanish passport remains in the top five positions on the list, as it now allows you to visit up to 189 countries without the need for a visa.

The report was prepared by the London-based consulting firm Henley & Partners based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In the previous edition, the Spanish passport gave access to 187 countries and was also ranked fifth on the list.

Currently, according to the Henley & Partners list, the world's most valuable passport, for several consecutive years, is Japan, which allows travel to 192 countries without the need for a visa, followed by Singapore and closely followed by Germany and South Korea, with free access to 190 destinations.

In joint third place, with visa-free access to 189 countries, are Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain, while fourth place goes to Austria, Denmark and France, allowing visa-free access to 188 countries.

Undoubtedly, being a citizen of a European country brings a great benefit because among the top 10 most valuable passports in the world ranking are Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, United Kingdom, Norway, Greece, Belgium, Malta, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Hungary.

Meanwhile, the United States and the United Kingdom continue to drop in the rankings. They rank joint eighth, a far cry from the top spot they held five years ago in 2015.

Uncertainty in the UK about what travel mobility in Great Britain and Northern Ireland will look like post-Brexit means that the downward trend could continue in the short term.

Trailing in the rankings for yet another year is Afghanistan's passport, as it only allows travel to 26 countries without a visa.

As noted by Christian H. Kaelin, president of Henley & Partner, the study has identified that there is a positive correlation between the freedom to travel and other types of freedoms, from economic to political, and even individual or human freedoms.

The curious note, in this index of the most valuable passports in the world is for the United Arab Emirates passport, which in the last 10 years, has registered one of the biggest comebacks. It has climbed many positions to reach, now in 2022, the 15th place in the ranking.

The 10 best passports to have in 2021 are:

  1. Japan and Singapore (192 destinations)
  2. South Korea, Germany (190)
  3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain (188)
  4. Austria, France, Holland and Sweden (188)
  5. Ireland and Portugal (187)
  6. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States (186)
  7. Canada, Czech Republic, Greece and Malta (185)
  8. Hungary and Poland (183)
  9. Lithuania and Slovakia (182)
  10. Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia (181)

Meanwhile, the worst passports are:

  1. Afghanistan (26 destinations)
  2. Iraq (28)
  3. Syria (29)
  4. Pakistan (31)
  5. Yemen (33)
  6. Somalia (34)
  7. Palestine, Nepal (37)
  8. North Korea (39)
  9. Libya, Kosovo and Bangladesh (40)
  10. Sudan (41)

Other indexes

The Henley & Partner list is one of many indexes created by different financial companies to classify global passports according to the access they grant provide to their citizens.

The Henley passport index is based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations. It is updated in real time throughout the year and as changes in the visa policy take effect.

Another case is the Arton Capital Passport Index, which takes into account the passports of 193 member countries of the United Nations and six territories: ROC Taiwan, Macao (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican. The territories annexed to other countries are excluded from the list.

The Arton Capital 2020 Index places the United Arab Emirates on top with a "visa-free score" of 179, followed by Germany, Finland, Luxembourg and Spain.

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