Germany has the most powerful passport in the world, according to the results of a 2017 travel ranking. Coming a close second is Sweden, followed by Singapore, which overtook South Korea as the most powerful in Asia this year.
The rest of the top 10 is made up of European countries including Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and the UK.
Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries rated poorly, with Afghanistan having the least powerful passport out of 199 countries, allowing its nationals to travel to just 23 countries and regions without having to obtain a visa beforehand.
It’s followed by Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, which are open to 26, 28 and 29 countries and regions respectively.
The Islamic country with the most powerful passport is Malaysia, open to 154 countries.
Among GCC countries, the UAE has the 58th most powerful passport (122 countries), followed by Kuwait – 98th (82 countries), Qatar – 99th (77 countries), Bahrain – 104th (73 countries), Oman – 107th (67 countries), and Saudi Arabia – 112th (67 countries).
The latest ranking, released by Passportindex.org, takes into account the number of visa-free regions and countries that a passport has access to.
It includes destinations that are completely visa-free and the ones that require visa on arrival.
Germany’s passport, which allows its holders to travel to 158 countries around the world without having to get a visa before departure, is top of the list.
The country held the same position last year but it now offers one less destination compared to 2016.
The Swedish and Singaporean passports both allow its holders to visit 157 destinations.
However, Sweden ranks higher on the list because 123 of these destinations are completely visa-free (rather than visa on arrival) while for Singapore, it’s 122.
South Korea, which had previously been the most powerful passport out of the Asian nations, fell to 24 this year.
The list is updated each year and will vary according to the visa-waivers that were signed during the year.
According to a new World Openness Score forming part of the rankings, which measures the freedom of mobility around the globe, there has been an increase in open borders since last year.