Henley Index: Japan tops 2020 list of world’s most powerful passports


passports file photo

What’s the travel document that opens more doors around the world than any other? It’s a Japanese passport.

The Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the world’s most travel-friendly passports, has released its first report of the new decade.
Japan is now top of the leaderboard, offering visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to an incredible 191 destinations around the world.
Asia dominates the top of the list, with Singapore in second place (with a score of 190) and South Korea tying with Germany in third place (with a score of 189).
European countries have a strong showing in the rest of the top ten, with Finland and Spain at No.4, Spain, Luxembourg and Denmark coming fifth, and Sweden and France sitting at No.6.
        The US and the UK, meanwhile, continue to slide down the rankings. As we step into the 2020s, they hold joint eighth place — a far cry from the number one spot they jointly held five years ago, in 2015.
The ongoing certainty in the UK over what travel mobility in a post-Brexit Britain and Northern Ireland will look like means that this downward trend might not be reversed anytime soon.
The report quotes Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, as saying: The Conservative government has promised an ‘Australian-style’ points-based system that would be more liberal than current policies towards non-EU citizens, though still much more restrictive than free movement.
As with all big migration policy changes, what this will mean for actual levels of mobility, however, remains extremely difficult to predict.”
          Sumption also notes that net EU migration to the UK fell by 59% between 2015 and 2018, with A Japanese passport holder can access 165 more destinations than a holder of the world’s weakest passport, that of Afghanistan, which offers visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to just 26 destinations many EU citizens perhaps wary of settling in the UK with the threat of Brexit on the horizon.
          One step above the UK on the leaderboard is Ireland, at No.7. A record-breaking 900,000 Irish passports were issued in 2019, due to a steady rise in applicants from British residents since the Brexit vote in 2016
Japan holds the top spot for 2020.

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