A passport from a country on good diplomatic terms with its peers is a powerful tool, allowing holders to travel across borders with ease. The list, compiled annually since 2006 by London-based consulting firm Henly and Partners and the International Air Transport Association ranks nations by how freely their citizens, unencumbered by immigration red tape, can explore the planet.
Globally, there was significant movement in this year’s index, with only 21 of the 199 countries listed remaining in the same rank. No country, however, dropped more than three positions, indicating that overall, visa-free access is improving around the world, the report said. This year, it shows that the citizenship of a superpower doesn’t carry the clout it once did. Now, the list of the top ten powerful passports in the world is given below:
German citizens, it seems, have the potential for the greatest mobility in the travel world. With a German passport, travelers can enter 177 out of 218 countries and territories without a visa, according to the 2016 Visa Restrictions Index.
The citizens of Sweden enjoy greater mobility in the travel world. They can enter 176 countries without a visa because of relaxing visa restrictions.
3.Finland, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom:
Last year, the UK topped alongside Germany but ceded the top spot after several countries relaxed visa restrictions to the latter during 2015. It was also behind Sweden. It is now in third place along with France, Italy, Spain, and Finland which make Northern and Western European citizens the most privileged in international travel. These countries’ people can enter 175 countries without a visa.
4.Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, United States:
The United States, which ranked first in 2014 and 2015, has now dropped to fourth place. It shares the place with Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands. These countries’ people can enjoy their traveling in 174 countries without a visa.
5.Austria, Japan, Singapore:
Japan was in the top three in 2014 and 2015 but has slid down to fifth this year. It shares the place along with Austria and Singapore. These countries allow people to enter 173 countries without a visa.
6.Canada, Ireland, South Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland:
South Korea has slid down to sixth from three this year. It shares the place with Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, and Switzerland. Their people can travel to 172 countries without a visa.
7.Greece, New Zealand:
Greece and New Zealand share spot seven on the 2016 Visa Restriction Index. These countries’ people can enter 171 countries without a visa.
Australia ranked sixth last year, but this year dropped to eight positions in Visa Restriction Index. The people of Australia can travel to 169 countries without a visa.
Malta which runs the world’s most successful citizenship-by-investment program has gained visa-free access to another two countries since 2015, making it the 9th most powerful passport in the world. The people of Malta can enter 168 countries without a visa.
10. Hungry, Czech Republic, Iceland:
Hungry, the Czech Republic and Iceland are tied for tenth this year. These countries’ people can visit 167 countries without a visa. The world is becoming increasingly globalized, mobile, and interdependent.
However, there is a huge disparity in the levels of travel freedom between countries. Visa requirements reflect strongly on each country’s relationships with others and take into account diplomatic relationships between the countries, security risks, the risks of visa, reciprocal visa arrangements, and immigration rules violations.