person holding up a passport against the horizon

A look at the world’s most powerful passports for 2024

An unprecedented six countries share the top spot with visa-free access to a record-breaking number of destinations on the 2024 Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive and official data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Four EU member states — FranceGermanyItaly, and Spain — join Japan and Singapore in boasting the most powerful passports in the world, with their citizens able to visit an astonishing 194 destinations out of 227 around the globe visa-free.

The two Asian nations have dominated first place on the index (which ranks all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa) for the past five years.

“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,” said Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners.

Europe continues to dominate

South Korea joins Finland and Sweden in second place with visa-free travel to 193 destinations, and another four EU nations: AustriaDenmarkIreland, and Netherlands — share third place with access to 192.

The rest of the Top 10 is largely dominated by European countries, with the UK climbing up two ranks to fourth place with visa-free access to 191 destinations compared to just 188 a year ago. 

Australia and New Zealand passport holders both improve their ranking to sit in sixth place with 189 visa-free destinations,  while the U.S. retains its seventh place with access to 188 destinations without requiring a visa in advance.

It has been a decade since the U.K. and the U.S. jointly held first place on the index in 2014.

Countries climbing the ranks

The UAE remains the biggest climber on the Henley Passport Index over the past decade, adding an impressive 106 destinations to its visa-free score since 2014, resulting in a massive 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.

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