Months after Japan beat out Singapore for the title of world’s most popular passport, a refreshed ranking reveals the country to have defended its #1 title, despite a large number of visa-free agreements inked by both countries in 2018.
The two countries shared the top spot in February, with Japan beating out Singapore in March.
The Henley Passport Index, which ranks passports according to the number of countries their holders can visit without a visa, based mostly on data from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). It is updated regularly to reflect changes in the number of visa-waiver agreements signed between countries.
Having gained visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month, Japanese citizens can now enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a whopping 190 destinations around the world — knocking Singapore, with 189 destinations, into second place.
Germany, which began 2018 in the top spot, is now in third place with 188 destinations, tied with France and South Korea.
Uzbekistan lifted visa requirements for French nationals on October 5, having already granted visa-free access to Japanese and Singaporean citizens in early February.
South Korea gained visa-free access to Myanmar on October 1, while Paraguay removed visa requirements for Singaporean passport holders in 2017.
The United States and the UK, both with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 186 destinations, are in fifth place. With neither having gained entry to any new jurisdictions this year, it seems unlikely that either will soon reclaim the No.1 spot they held in 2015.
Russia has fallen to 47th position, despite having received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver for Russian nationals.
The United Arab Emirates is the decade’s biggest success story when it comes to travel freedom. It’s risen from 62nd place in 2006 to now being No. 21 in the rankings.
It’s also recently signed a visa-waiver agreement with Russia, due to come into effect in the coming months.
China recently obtained access to St. Lucia and Myanmar and is now in 71st place, having climbed 14 places since the start of 2017.
Henley Passport Index power ranking
1. Japan: 190
2. Singapore: 189
3. Germany, France, South Korea: 188
4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain: 187
5. Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, United States: 186
6. Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada: 185
7. Australia, Greece, Malta: 183
8. New Zealand, Czech Republic: 182
9. Iceland: 181
10. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia: 180