Japan has overtaken Singapore as the world’s strongest passport, claiming top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, revealed residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners in a press release on October 9.
Japan now enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, the latest of which is Myanmar, compared to Singapore’s total of 189.
Japan and Singapore have been neck and neck on the index since they both climbed to the top spot in February — following a visa exemption from Uzbekistan — and pushed Germany down to second place for the first time since 2014.
This quarter, Germany has fallen further to third place, which it now shares with South Korea and France. France moved up from fourth to third place last Friday when it gained visa-free access to Uzbekistan, while South Korea moved from fourth to third place on October 1 when it gained visa-free access to Myanmar. Germany, France and South Korea all have a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 188.
The US and the UK, both with 186 destinations, have also slid down one spot — from fourth to fifth place — with neither having gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018.
The press release further stated: “With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea, it seems increasingly unlikely that the US and the UK will regain the number one spot they jointly held in 2015.”
The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to without a prior visa. Based on data from International Air Transport Association and in-house research, the index is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect.