British passport sixth most powerful in the world while EU states dominate top ranks

The British passport is the world’s sixth most powerful with visa-free or visa on-arrival access to 187 countries.

The UK passport was one place ahead of the US at 186 countries, while EU states dominated much of the top rankings, data from Henley & Partners’ 2022 Henley Passport Index showed.

Germany and Spain were joint third, with Finland, Italy, and Luxembourg joint fourth. Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden were joint fifth, all with passports stronger than the UK’s.

Japan, Singapore, and South Korea possess the world’s most powerful passports, with easy entry to 193 countries for the former most and 192 for the latter two.

Afghanistan has the weakest passport and gets visa-free access to just 27 countries, with Iraq and Syria second and third worst respectively. 

There is a strong correlation between a country’s passport power and its place on the Global Peace Index,Henley & Partners research showed. All of the countries in the top ten of the Henley Passport Index are also in the top ten of the Global Peace Index. The same is true for the lowest ranked countries.

“A passport is more than ever a calling card, which, depending on which passport you carry and where you are going, will have an impact on the kind of welcome you will receive, where you can go and how safe you will be when you get there,” said Stephen Klimczuk-Massion, Fellow at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, as he mentioned Covid, war, instability and inflation.

“Now more than ever, it’s a mistake to think of a passport as merely a travel document that allows you to get from A to B. The relative strength or weakness of a particular national passport directly affects the quality of life for the passport holder and may even be a matter of life and death in some circumstances,” he said, according to Henley & Partners.

The Russian passport is on 50th place in the index, with visa-free or on arrival access to 119 countries. But airspace closures in EU states, the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russians are essentially barred from traveling through much of the developed world.

Ukraine’s passport is at 35th place, giving access to 144 states easily.

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