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
Asian Countries Dominate When It Comes to Passport Power in
For immediate release: London, 8 January 2019
Japan goes into the new year holding 1st place on the
Henley Passport Index, with citizens enjoying visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190
destinations. In a further display of Asian passport power, Singapore and
South Korea now sit in joint 2nd place, with access to 189
destinations around the globe. This marks a new high for South Korea,
which moved up the ranking following a recent visa-on-arrival agreement
with India. Germany and France remain in 3rd place going into
2019, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 188.
The US and the UK continue to drop down the
Henley Passport Index
— which is based on authoritative data from the
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
— and now sit in joint 6th place, with access to 185
destinations. This is a significant fall from the 1st place
position that these countries held in 2015. Denmark, Finland, Italy, and
Sweden now hold joint 4th place, while Spain and Luxembourg are
in 5th. As they have done for much of the index’s 14-year
history, Iraq and Afghanistan remain at the bottom of the ranking, with
access to just 30 visa-free destinations.
Turkey’s recent introduction of an online e-Visa service has
resulted in some interesting changes to the overall rankings. As of
October 2018, citizens of over 100 countries (including Canada, the UK,
Norway, and the US) must apply for an e-Visa before they travel to Turkey,
instead of being able to do so on arrival. While this specific change
means that a number of countries have dropped slightly in the rankings, it
does not alter the overwhelmingly positive effect of the wider global
tendency towards visa-openness and mutually beneficial agreements.
Historical data from the
Henley Passport Index
shows that in 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations
without needing a visa from the host nation; by the end of 2018, this
number had nearly doubled to 107.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group
Henley & Partners and the
inventor of the Passport Index concept, says this latest ranking shows
that despite rising isolationist sentiment in some parts of the world,
many countries remain committed to collaboration. “The general
spread of open-door policies has the potential to contribute billions to
the global economy, as well as create significant employment opportunities
around the world. South Korea and the United Arab Emirates’ recent
ascent in the rankings are further examples of what happens when countries
take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly
benefits their citizens as well as the international community.”
Countries Continue to Embrace Mutually Beneficial Migration
Asian countries’ continued dominance of the
Henley Passport Index
reflects the extraordinary effect that international mobility and
migration has had on the region. The full scope of this impact is explored
in the recently launched 2019 edition of the
Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report – a unique
publication that offers cutting-edge analysis and commentary from leading
scholars and professional experts on the latest trends shaping
international and regional mobility patterns today.
Commenting in the report,
Dr. Parag Khanna, the Founder
and Managing Partner of FutureMap in Singapore, notes:
“China’s Thousand Talents scheme, Thailand’s
entrepreneur visa, and similar initiatives from the UAE to Singapore show
many states sustaining a high comfort level with mutually beneficial
China’s steady ascent up the rankings over the past few years is a
clear demonstration of this. In 2017, the country was ranked
85th, with citizens able to access just 51 destinations. Going
into 2019, China sits in 69th place, with its nationals now
able to access 74 countries and territories around the world. Commenting
in the report,
Froilan Malit, an Associate at the Gulf Labour Markets, Migration, and Population
(GLMM) program and a Fellow at Centre International de Formation des
Autorités et Leaders (CIFAL), says: “Overall, international
migration has not only helped stabilize economic growth in Asia Pacific
but enabled many labor-sending South and Southeast Asian countries to
sustain strong economic growth, even in times of crisis.”
As is clear from the United Arab Emirates’ continued upward
trajectory, the Middle Eastern powerhouse has taken a similar approach to
Asian high performers. Now holding top spot in the region at 22nd
place globally on the
Henley-IATA index, with its citizens able to access 164 destinations around the globe, the
nation recently signed agreements with a number of countries, including
Mexico, Japan, and Sierra Leone. Commenting on the UAE’s recent
partnerships with African nations,
Ryan Cummings, Director of
Signal Risk, says: “The United Arab Emirates has demonstrated a
penchant for reciprocating visa deregulation as the country aims to
attract diverse skill-sets and increase the power of its own
Cummings suggests that the African continent would also benefit from this
more expansive approach: “Africa continues to lag behind the rest of
the world. That said, it is certainly moving in the right direction in
terms of enhancing visa openness. Over the past year, several African
countries – notably Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia and Senegal
– relaxed visa requirements, with the intention of enhancing trade,
co-operation, and security.”
Looking ahead: Brexit, the US, and changing alliances
The 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report offers
fascinating insight into what the coming year might hold in terms of visa
freedom and travel access. Experts anticipate that neither the US nor EU
member states are in line to substantially revise their current visa
policies, whereas countries in other parts of Europe (such as
Montenegro), as well as those in Asia and the Middle East, look set to continue
seeking visa-waiver agreements with diplomatic allies.
A question mark remains over the ultimate impact of Brexit. While the deal
hangs in the balance, it is difficult to anticipate what the ultimate
ramifications will be for EU and UK citizens, as well as for EU and UK
trade and co-operation. Commenting in the report on the potential impact
of Britain’s changing relationship with the EU, Prof.
Simone Bertoli, Professor of Economics at Université Clermont Auvergne (CERDI)
in France and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Labor Economics in
Germany, says: “London’s finance sector could lose a
substantial part of its appeal, and other European countries (notably,
France, Germany, and Ireland) could decide to strengthen policy measures
to attract financial sector workers.”
Finally, insights from the report show that the ever-growing trend towards
visa-openness is unlikely to slow down. Overall, 2019 looks set to hold
some surprises in the travel freedom space as more countries and citizens
embrace the benefits of global mobility.
Citizenship-by-investment countries consolidate their respective
As in 2018, countries with
citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs
continue to hold their strong positions.
Malta, for instance, sits in 9th spot, with access to 182
destinations around the world.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Antigua and Barbuda
hold 27th and 28th spot respectively, while
remains in a strong position at 46th place, with citizens able
to access 122 countries. A recent agreement signed between St. Kitts and
Nevis and Belarus, due to come into effect in the coming months, will
further strengthen the St. Kitts and Nevis passport, and enhance the
travel freedom of its citizens.
Dr. Juerg Steffen, the CEO of
Henley & Partners, says:
“The enduring appeal of investment migration programs shows that
more and more people are embracing alternative citizenship as the best way
to access previously unimagined opportunities and improve their passport
power. Additionally, it is no surprise that countries are increasingly
looking to launch CBI programs, which attract talented individuals and
bring enormous economic and societal benefits.”
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
Henley & Partners – 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.
About the 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report
The 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report is a
unique publication that brings together commentary from leading scholars
and professional experts on the major trends shaping global and regional
mobility patterns today.
In addition, the report features fresh analysis of the latest developments
Henley Passport Index, original scholarly research into the relationship between democracy and
travel freedom, and on-the-ground insights into the future of migration
Headlines 2019 versus 2018
Japan holds top spot on the
Henley Passport Index
for the second year running, offering citizens visa-free access to a
record 190 destinations.
Singapore continues to hold 2nd place, along with South
Korea, which has moved up from 3rd place, with citizens able
to access 189 destinations.
From the 2nd place it held at the beginning of 2018, Germany
now drops to 3rd place, with access to 188 destinations. It
shares this position with France.
Denmark, Italy, Finland, and Sweden share joint 4th place,
with access to 187 destinations around the globe.
The UK drops from 4th place to 6th place, while
the US drops from 5th place to 6th place, with
visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 185 destinations.
In further demonstrations of Asian passport power, China moved five
places up the rankings from the beginning of 2018, from 74th
to 69th, while Cambodia (84th), Laos
(86th), and Myanmar (90th) have each moved up four
The UAE climbed five places up the rankings, from 27th place
at the beginning of 2018, to 22nd place currently.
Afghanistan and Iraq continue to hold joint last place, with a
visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 30.
Headlines over the past decade
The UAE is the strongest individual climber over the past decade, from
61st place in 2009 to 22nd place currently.
South Korea has moved 10 places up the rankings since 2009, when it held
12th place with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 144.
The past decade has seen a marked decline in many African
countries’ rankings. Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Gambia, and South
Africa have all dropped at least 18 places since 2009.
There have been other significant declines, particularly in states
affected by ongoing war and violence. Syria has dropped 21 places since
2009, Yemen has dropped 19 places, Somalia and Iraq have both dropped 16
places, and Afghanistan has dropped 15.
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and
Ukraine have all improved their global rank by 15 or more positions
In 2009, there were 24 countries in the top 10 positions of the index,
with 17 of those countries located in Europe, and two in Asia. At the
beginning of 2019, there are 27 countries in the top 10 positions on the
index, with 20 of those countries located in Europe, and three in Asia.
In 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without
needing a visa from the host nation; by 2018, this number had nearly
doubled to 107.
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 worldwide.
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
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 citizenship programs.
For further information, please contact:
Group Public Relations Director
Mobile: +44 774 190 9957
Senior Group Public Relations Manager
Mobile: +27 72 464 8965