Published on : Wednesday, October 6, 2021
London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners recently released an index of the world’s most powerful passports in 2021. According to the organization, the global gap in travel freedoms has never been wider.
The firm’s Henley Passport Index, based on exclusive data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has been regularly monitoring the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006.
It says that increasing travel barriers that have been introduced over the past 18 months of the Covid pandemic have resulted in the widest global mobility gap in the index’s 16-year history.
The index does not take temporary restrictions into account, so the latest index has been created leaving behind the current critical travel scenario. As per the report, holders of the passports at the top of its ranking, Japan and Singapore, are able to travel visa-free to 192 destinations.
Further down the top 10, the rankings remain virtually unchanged in the final quarter of 2021. South Korea is tied with Germany in second place (with a score of 190) and Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain are all together in third place (with a score of 189).
EU countries dominate the top of the list as usual, with Austria and Denmark in fourth place and France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden in fifth place.
New Zealand, which announced this week that it was moving away from its Covid-19 elimination strategy in favor of a vaccine certificate system, is in sixth place alongside Belgium and Switzerland.
The United States and the United Kingdom, which held the top spot together back in 2014, are now more modestly placed in the rankings. They are at No. 7, alongside the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta and Norway, with visa-free or visa-on-demand access to 185 destinations.
Australia and Canada are in eighth place, Hungary is ninth, and Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have together broken into the No.10 spot, with a score of 182. The Henley & Partners report points to “growing inequalities”.
It has made the suggestion that restrictive policies initially introduced to contain the spread of Covid-19 are now being conveniently applied to contain mobility from the global south. Henley & Partner’s list is one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.
The Henley Passport Index covers 227 travel destinations. It is updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.