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Irish passport among most powerful | Ireland

Asian countries dominate when it comes to passport power in 2019 Asian countries dominate when it comes to passport power in 2019
Jeannette Daniel | 09 January, 2019, 11:23

Japan is followed by Singapore and South Korea in joint second place, whose citizens can visit 189 destinations without getting a visa before travel.

At the far end of the table, Iraq and Afghanistan remain at the bottom of the rankings, with access to just 30 visa-free destinations.

The Japanese passport is this year's most powerful, with holders permitted to access 190 countries without obtaining a visa.

Arton Capital's Passport Index takes into consideration the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories - ROC Taiwan, Macao (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican.

Unlike past year, the Henley Passport Index 2019 revealed Singapore to be sharing second place with South Korea, which has visa-free access to 189 countries.

Henley & Partner's list is one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.

The UK and the U.S. continue to lose ground in the ranking, now occupying the 6th place (185 countries).

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Germany and France retained their third place spot for another year, with a score of 188.

The data for the rankings is sourced from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which analyses how many countries a passport holder can enter visa-free or with a visa on arrival.

Fourth place saw Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden have access to 187 countries. This is a significant fall from the first place position that these countries held in 2015, and while a big question mark remains over the ultimate impact of Brexit, it is unlikely that either country will reclaim the top spot anytime soon.

The Group Chairman for Henley and Partners, Christian Kalin, says that despite some trends towards isolationism, most countries in the world remain committed to collaboration and supporting a proactive approach to foreign affairs, which includes investing in "international mobility". Going into 2019, China now sits in 69th place, with access to 74 countries around the world.

Similarly, the United Arab Emirates continues its upward trajectory, now holding top spot in the Middle East region and 22nd place globally. As the country heads to the exit, possibly without a deal, their ability to travel visa-free to European Union countries could be compromised.

'In 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by the end of 2018, this number had almost doubled to 107'.

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