The 5 most powerful passports in the world

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March 13, 2023

Not all passports are created equal. Having a powerful passport removes a lot of the barriers involved in international travel and makes holidaying and visa acquisition much easier. Passport rankings change based on political and economic conditions in a region, but are generally ranked based on a country’s diplomatic ties and overall stability. Here is a justified ranking of the most powerful passports in the world, and also – don’t fret – how to travel or migrate to Australia if you have a less powerful passport. As a rule of thumb, the more countries you can travel to without a visa, or collect a visa with ease on arrival, the more power your passport has. This provides more mobility for the passport holder, but also greater access to education and job opportunities globally.


Here is the 2023 official Henley Passport Index ranking of the most powerful passports in the world.

1. Japan and Singapore

Able to access 193 countries without a visa, or with a visa on arrival, these two nations are the most powerful in the international sphere when it comes to holidaying with ease. They both have great standing in diplomatic relations. Asian countries barely featured among the world’s top 10 passports as early as 2017, but increased stability and investment in visa-free arrangements with other nations has shifted this index.

2. South Korea

South Korea ranks as the third-highest on the Human Development Index in Asia, behind the first two countries mentioned in this list. One of the reasons for its passport strength is the country’s strong economy and high standard of living, which makes it an attractive destination for many international businesses and investors.


Another factor that contributes to the popularity of the South Korean passport is the country’s diplomatic efforts to secure visa-free access to many countries around the world. In recent years, South Korea has signed numerous visa waiver agreements with other countries, including the United States, Canada, and the countries of the European Union.


3. Germany and Spain

Germany and Spain both have strong economies, political stability, and positive international relations, which make them an attractive destination for international businesses, investors, and travellers. Both countries are also members of the European Union, which provides its citizens with the right to free movement and work within the EU. Both European countries are additionally part of several visa waiver agreements.


4. Italy, Luxembourg, Finland

These countries all have desirable passports for similar reasons, notably membership of the EU. Italy’s rich history and culture makes it a desirable tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year with its art, architecture, and cuisine. Luxembourg is an extremely wealthy European country with high per-capita GDP, thanks to the country’s expansion of the financial, logistics, and technology sector and plentiful iron ore resources. Their high standard of living, stable political climate, and strong economy contributes to the strength of this passport.


5. Netherlands and Sweden

Sweden’s passport strength is due in part to the country’s focus on innovation, technology, and sustainability. Sweden is home to many successful companies, including Ikea, Spotify, and Ericsson, and has a strong research and development sector. The country’s political climate is also stable, and it is known for its high standard of living and social welfare system. Evidently, membership of the EU is an advantage for the strength of a country’s passport. 


The Netherlands has a great standing in international relations and diplomacy, home to many international organisations such as the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, all which contribute to its positive international standing. A commitment to diplomacy is a great way to have globally-respected citizens.


If you don’t enjoy a strong passport, there are still options for you to visit and travel countries with a bit more preparation. Many countries, including African, Asian, and South American nations require a visa for any time spent in Australia. AustraliaMigrate can help you work, live, or visit Australia despite your passport status. If you’re enjoying your visit, we can help you extend it with the right kind of work, study, or combination visa. Get in touch today to discuss your options.

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