The Henley Passport Index is the original and most authoritative passport index, with historical data
spanning 14 years. The index and its contents are based on data provided by the International Air Transport
Authority (IATA) and supplemented, enhanced, and updated using extensive in-house research and open-source
online data. The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations. Updated in
real-time throughout the year, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect, the Henley Passport Index
is the most robust and reliable index of its kind.
Global ranking and visa lists
On a fixed date each year, Henley & Partners receives exclusive data from the International Air Transport
Authority (IATA), which forms the basis of the Henley Passport Index. In order to maintain the accuracy of
the data provided by IATA in the face of constant updates to visa policy, and in order to create detailed
visa lists for all 199 passports in our database, the Henley & Partners research team uses publicly
available and reliable online sources to cross-check each passport against all 227 possible travel
destinations. This research process is ongoing throughout the year. It is coupled with a rigorous monitoring
system to pick up relevant visa-policy shifts.
Conditions and criteria
For each travel destination, if no visa is required for passport holders from a country or territory, then a
score with value = 1 is created for that passport. A score with value = 1 is also applied if passport
holders can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when
entering the destination. These visa-types require no pre-departure government approval, because of the
specific visa-waiver programs in place.
Where a visa is required, or where a passport holder has to obtain a government-approved electronic visa
(e-Visa) before departure, a score with value = 0 is assigned. A score with value = 0 is also assigned if
passport holders need pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival, a scenario we do not consider
The total score for each passport is equal to the number of destinations for which no visa is required (value
= 1), under the conditions defined above.
The index assumes the following: the passport is valid; the passport is ‘normal’ rather than diplomatic,
emergency, or temporary; the passport holder is an adult citizen of the issuing country, traveling alone
rather than in a tourist group; the passport holder meets all the basic requirements for entry (for example,
holding a hotel reservation or having proof of sufficient funds); the passport holder does not meet any
complex requirements for entry (for example, possessing a government-issued letter); the passport holder has
had all the necessary inoculations or vaccinations; the passport holder is arriving at and departing from
the same airport; the passport holder is seeking a short stay rather than a transit stay in the destination
country or territory; the duration of the short stay is between three days and several months; the port of
entry is a major city or capital, in cases where this is required; and entry to the destination country is
for tourist or business purposes.
The visa policy of Greenland and the Faroe Islands is taken to be the same as that of Denmark.
For each passport, the visa lists were broken down into regions, for ease of reference. These regional
groupings were created using a combination of official United Nations geographic categories and Henley &
Partners business categories.
The information provided in the index is not intended to be binding, and visa information must be verified
with a travel agent or embassy representative before travel arrangements are made.
Full disclaimer and important legal information:
- Visa-free: You do not need a visa to enter these destinations
- Visa on arrival: You need a visa to enter these destinations, but you can apply for and receive the visa
upon arrival at the airport (no pre-departure approval necessary)
- e-Visa: You need a visa to enter these destinations, but you can apply for it online, and the visa you
receive is electronic (pre-departure approval necessary)
- Visa required: You need a traditional visa to enter these destinations, and you need to apply for it in
- Visa-free score: The total number of destinations for which you do not require a visa
- Visa list: The list of destinations that a specific passport can access visa-free, with an electronic
visa (e-Visa), with a visa on arrival, or with a traditional visa
Asia Consolidates Its Passport Power
For immediate release: London, 26 March 2019
In a resounding demonstration of Asia’s growing power and influence on the
world stage, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea now hold joint top spot on
the Henley Passport Index,
with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 189. These latest results
consolidate 12 months of Asian dominance, after Japan first climbed to the
top spot in February last year.
Following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan, Germany currently sits alone in
2nd place, with a score of 188. Five countries now share 3 rd place on the index – which is based on exclusive data from
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
– with a score of 187: Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden. The UK
and the US look increasingly unlikely to regain the top spot they jointly
held in 2015, with the UK now siting in 5th place with a
visa-free/visa on arrival score of 185, and the US in 6th, with
a score of 184. Afghanistan and Iraq remain at the bottom of the ranking
with a score of just 30, a position one or both countries have occupied
throughout the index’s 14-year history.
UAE, Albania, and China Leap Up the Ranking
The UAE continues its upward trajectory and is now just one spot away from
entry into the index’s top 20. After the recent formalization of a mutual
visa-waiver agreement signed with Russia, UAE passport holders are now able
to access 165 destinations around the world without a prior visa. This
current score marks an extraordinary ascent from the position the UAE held
a decade ago, when the country shared joint 61st place with
Thailand and Zimbabwe and had a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 52.
The UAE’s ascent is one of many success stories on the Henley Passport Index.
Albania, for instance, has moved up 28 places on the index over the past
ten years, with citizens of this once closed-off nation now able to access
116 destinations without a prior visa. China’s ascent is less dramatic, but
it is a change that experts believe to be far more significant from a
geopolitical point of view: the country now sits in 67th spot,
having moved up 12 places since 2009.
Commenting on these developments, Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Chairman
of Henley & Partners and
the inventor of the Passport Index concept, says: “The Henley Passport
Index has always been an important tool for global travelers, but the index
reveals more than just the relative strength of the world’s passports.
Crucially, it is also a lens into the kind of world we are living in, and
the kinds of policies states are pursuing. With some notable exceptions,
there is a growing acknowledgment that policies of engagement,
collaboration, and openness yield the greatest results, for both individual
nations and the global community as a whole. The current strength of Asian
passports is emblematic of this progressive shift, and it seems certain
that more and more countries will follow suit in order to benefit from
global flows of talent and capital.”
Asian Expansion Transforming Tourism and Trade
As well as illustrating the widespread adoption of open visa policies, the
latest rankings reflect the transformative effect that Asian development
and growth is having on networks of transcontinental cooperation and
connectivity. Dr. Parag Khanna,
Founder and Managing Partner of FutureMap and author of The Future Is Asian: Global Order in the Twenty-first Century,
says, “With all Asian countries topping the index, there is a clear
momentum behind the region taking center stage in globalization. The steady
rise of China through its visa-waiver agreements shows how incremental and
reciprocal measures can lead to significant progress in trust and
Commenting further on the impact of China’s multi-trillion dollar Belt and
Road Initiative (BRI), the largest infrastructure project in history, Dr.
Khanna says, “With the Belt and Road Initiative expanding its constellation
of member states and cross-border projects, we can fully expect Asian,
European, Arab, and African countries to continue to seek more seamless
access to each other’s countries. This will benefit both China and all
states participating in the rising trade along the new Silk Roads.”
Ryan Cummings, Director of Signal Risk, says that
participation in BRI is having an increasing impact in the Middle East.
Discussing the recent ratification of the visa-waiver agreement signed
between UAE and Russia, Cummings says, “While touted as being a direct
outcome of strengthening trade and diplomatic relations between the UAE and
Russia, the move may also be a strategic attempt by the former to replicate
its success as the main trading, logistics, and financial hub in the Middle
East to Asia. This comes amid the UAE’s formalization of a strategic
partnership with China, which included a reciprocated visa waiver agreement
and which formalized its membership to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In
doing so, the UAE may benefit as being the proverbial bridge linking
people, trade, and commodities between Asia and the Middle East, which will
only further strengthen the power of the country’s passport.”
The Brexit Effect
While growing passport strength seems inevitable for some countries,
uncertainty abounds for others, as protracted Brexit negotiations continue.
Last Thursday, EU leaders agreed to a request to delay the Brexit process,
with a new conditional deadline set for mid-April. Although the outcome
remains unknown, Prof. Dr. Florian Trauner, Research Professor at the
Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels, points
out that the process has not yet affected the UK’s standing on the Henley Passport Index.
“Post-Brexit, it is likely that UK citizens will retain their (short-stay)
visa free travel for the Schengen area. If the UK and EU manage to maintain
a close political and trade relationship, the actual impact of Brexit on
the travel freedom of British citizens may remain limited. However, the
picture may change with regard to long-term mobility given that the free
movement rights for UK citizens in the EU (and vice versa) will cease to
Citizenship-by-Investment Countries Retain Strong Positions
The overall passport strength of countries with
citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs
is another of the index’s success stories.
, for instance, currently sits in 8th spot, ahead of Australia,
Iceland, and New Zealand, and
, which is due to launch its CBI program in the coming months, has climbed
19 places since 2009 to 43rd place with a
visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 124.
, ranked as one of the highest historical climbers on the Henley Passport
Index, jumping 21 places over the past decade, is now in 45th
place with holders currently able to travel to 121 global destinations
visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival.
Dr. Juerg Steffen
, the CEO of Henley & Partners, says:
“Citizenship- and residence-by-investment programs are a major source of
societal value creation, strengthening and diversifying the economies of
sovereign states and enabling governments to drive capital into domestic
development projects, create new employment opportunities, encourage
further investment, and better the lives of ordinary citizens. These latest
results from the Henley Passport Index make it clear, in addition, why
investment migration programs are growing in popularity for wealthy
investors and their families. The travel mobility afforded by a second
powerful passport is unmatched, and the opportunities it provides are
Notes to editors
About the 2019 Henley Passport Index
Boasting cutting-edge expert commentary and historical data spanning 14
Henley Passport Index
is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the
number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The
ranking is based on exclusive data from the
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel
information, and it is enhanced by extensive, ongoing research by the
Henley & Partners Research Department.
Henley Passport Index
is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect.
Along with the
Kälin – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index
, it is considered a major reference tool for global citizens and the
standard reference for governments in this field.
About the Henley Passport Index website
Henley Passport Index website
provides up-to-date, printable lists of the countries you can access
visa-free, with an e-visa, with a visa on arrival, or with a normal visa.
It also allows you to compare the strength of passports and understand how
you might improve your travel freedom with alternative citizenship.
Visit the website
to view and download the global ranking and find out more about the power
of your passport.
Global headlines for Q2 2019
· Japan, Singapore, and South Korea hold joint top spot on the
Henley Passport Index
· Germany has risen to 2nd place, up from the 3rd
place it held with France.
· France remains in 3rd place, a position it now shares with
Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Sweden.
· The UK is in 5th place, while the US is in 6th.
· The UK’s Brexit process has not yet had a marked effect on the country’s
standing on the index. Its fall from the 3rd place it held in
2016 is a result of gains made by Asian countries, and not a direct
consequence of Brexit.
· There are now 32 countries in the top 10 positions on the Henley Passport
Index, with European countries accounting for the majority of these spots.
· Iraq and Afghanistan continue to hold the bottom (104th) spot
on the index, with only 30 destinations accessible visa-free or with a visa
Regional headlines for Q2 2019
· In Africa, the Seychelles, Mauritius, and South Africa, respectively,
continue to hold the top 3 spots. South Africa has dropped 16 spots
over the past decade.
· In the Middle East, the UAE is in 1st place, Israel is in in 2nd place, and Turkey is in 3rd place.
· In the Caribbean, the top 3 spots are held by Barbados, the Bahamas, and
St. Kitts and Nevis, respectively.
· In Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Ukraine holds 1st place, Moldova holds 2nd place, and Russia holds 3 rd place. Moldova has climbed 21 places since 2009, while
Ukraine has climbed 22 places. Georgia, in 4th, has climbed 17
· In Southeast Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei, respectively, hold
the top 3 spots, while Myanmar, in 91st place, remains poorest
performer in the region. The country has dropped six places over the past
decade, while the Philippines has dropped 11.
· In North Asia, Japan and South Korea are the global and regional leaders.
China is the highest regional climber in North Asia over the past decade,
having moved 12 spots up the ranking since 2009. North Korea, in 96 th place globally, remains the poorest performer in the region.
The country has dropped 13 places over the past decade.
About Henley & Partners
Henley & Partners is the global leader in residence and citizenship
planning. Each year, hundreds of wealthy individuals and their advisors
rely on our expertise and experience in this area. The firm’s highly
qualified professionals work together as one team in over 30 offices
The concept of residence and citizenship planning was created by Henley
& Partners in the 1990s. As globalization has expanded, residence and
citizenship have become topics of significant interest among the increasing
number of internationally mobile entrepreneurs and investors whom we
proudly serve every day.
The firm also runs a leading government advisory practice that has raised
more than USD 8 billion in foreign direct investment. Trusted by
governments, the firm has been involved in strategic consulting and in the
design, set-up, and operation of the world’s most successful residence and
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