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World's most & least powerful passports in Q1 2024

World's most & least powerful passports in Q1 2024

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Malaysia currently stands in 12th place, alongside Cyprus and Liechtenstein, with a visa-free score of 182.

According to the Henley Passport Index, Malaysia has climbed two places from its previous 14th place in 2023, to rank as the 12th strongest passport in the world in Q1 2024.

Based on official data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), released on 10 January 2024 (Wednesday), Malaysia has surpassed countries such as Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Monaco.

Here is the ranking for the countries that made it to the top five:

RankCountriesVisa-free score (i.e., access)
1
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Spain
194
2
  • Finland
  • South Korea 
  • Sweden
193
3
  • Austria
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
192
4
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • UK
191
5
  • Greece
  • Malta
  • Switzerland
190

 

The data further revealed the rankings for the following Asian markets:

Malaysia

Rank: 12th

Visa-free score: 182

Hong Kong

Rank: 19th

Visa-free score: 171

Macao

Rank: 34th

Visa-free score: 144

Taiwan

Rank: 35th

Visa-free score: 143

China

Rank: 62nd

Visa-free score: 85

Thailand

Rank: 63rd

Visa-free score: 82

Indonesia

Rank: 66th

Visa-free score: 78

The Philippines

Rank: 73rd

Visa-free score: 69

India

Rank: 80th

Visa-free score: 62

Vietnam

Rank: 87th

Visa-free score: 55


Additional findings

Still clinching a spot in the top 10, Australia moved up two spots from eighth place in 2023, to rank sixth in 2024.

At the bottom of the ranking, Afghanistan remains in its place, with a visa-free access score of 28 (2023: 27) this year, followed by Syria (2024: 29; 2023: 30), and Iraq (2024: 31; 2023: 29) — the three weakest passports in the world, but with more visa-free access in the last year.

A never-before-seen phenomenon of six countries currently share the top spot with visa-free access to a record-breaking number of destinations on the 2024 Henley Passport Index, based on data from the IATA. These six countries — France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Spain have clinched the title of the ‘most powerful passports in the world’, with their citizens able to visit 194 destinations out of 227 around the globe visa-free.

The two Asian nations have dominated 1st place on the index for the past five years.

Commenting on the ranking, Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman, Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, said: "The average number of destinations travellers are able to access visa-free has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024.

"However, as we enter the new year, the top-ranked countries are now able to travel to a staggering 166 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the ranking with access to just 28 countries without a visa."

Global climbers and fallers

The UAE remains the biggest climber on the Henley Passport Index over the past decade, adding 106 destinations to its visa-free score since 2014, resulting in a leap of 44 places in the ranking from 55th to 11th position.

Ukraine and China are also among the top five countries with the most improved rankings over the past 10 years (a net total gain of 21 places each), and both have climbed a further two ranks in the past year. Ukraine is now in 32nd place with 148 visa-free destinations and China is 62nd on the ranking with access to 85 destinations without a prior visa (compared to just 44 in 2014).

While Russia has seen a net gain of 24 destinations over the past decade, its visa-free score and ranking has barely shifted since 2017, and it now sits in 51st place with access to 119 destinations.


READ MORE: Top cities in Asia to relocate your employees to


Lead photo / 123RF

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