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Best Passports in the World (2020)

Best Passports in the World (2020)

Photo: Chintung Lee/Shutterstock

Want to know which is the best passport in the world? Here’s an updated list of the most powerful passports in the world to have in 2020.

Every year, the world’s most accessible passport is ranked after how many jurisdictions the country’s passport holder could travel to without the need for applying for a visa before the trip. 

Nowadays, numerous countries are more accessible than ever before, and the need to fill out tedious visa applications are long gone at the majority of border controls worldwide.

In addition to offering access to citizens from other countries for a limited time of period, more governments around the world have also implemented electronic travel authorization. 

With that said, let’s take a look at the strongest and most powerful passports in the world. 

Which country has the best passport in 2020?

Japan currently has the best passport in 2020, and Japanse citizens can travel to 191 jurisdictions around the world without the need for a visa before arrival.

This means that the Japanese are those that can travel most freely at the moment. Singaporeans can enjoy visa-free travel to 190 destinations, and South Korea and Germany are right behind with visa-free access to 189 jurisdictions around the world without the need to apply for a visa beforehand.

Most powerful passport in the world

Photo: structuresxx and Dinoman / Shutterstock.com

How are passports ranked?

The Henley Passport Index is one of the most well-known methods and indexes to measure the most powerful passports in the world. Each year they present new rankings based on information from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). 

In total, 227 possible destinations (countries and territories) with separate border controls are evaluated and ranks passports from 199 different jurisdictions, based on how many of these 227 destinations that are possible to travel to without a prior visa. 

List of the most powerful passports in the world

Passport Ranking Country Number of countries with visa-free access
1 Japan 191
2 Singapore 190
3 Germany, South Korea 189
4 Finland, Italy 188
5 Luxembourg, Spain, Denmark 187
6 Sweden, France 186
7 Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria 185
8 United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Greece, Belgium 184
9 New Zealand, Malta, Czech Republic, Canada, Australia 183
10 Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary 181

More about the Strongest Passports in the World

Being born in a certain country is an act of randomness and depends solely on your parents, but it can have an immense impact on the opportunities given in life.

If you’re born in a country with poor relations with other countries, you’ll most likely have to deal with the consequences of having a weak passport, which means that you’ll have a tougher time to travel around the world. 

Sometimes, it will even be impossible to obtain a visa to certain countries depending on the diplomatic relations between your home country and the country you want to visit or move to. 

At the moment, there is not a single passport in the world which gives visa-free access to all countries in the world. However, Japan and Singapore have come very close though, and citizens of those countries can consider themselves fortunate to hold the strongest passport in the world. 

The same goes for myself who holds a Swedish passport. I can access a total of 185 jurisdictions without having to apply for a visa prior to my trip, and this is something that I’m incredibly grateful for.

Unfortunately, no matter if we hold a strong or weak passport, there is not much one can do on an individual level, other than hope for improvements in diplomatic relations and being a great ambassador for one’s country.

swedish passport

Who holds the most powerful passport 2020? 

Citizens of Japan can enjoy visa-free access to 191 destinations around the world, and thus holds the most powerful passport in 2020.

Last year, the strongest passport was tied between Japan and Singapore who could travel to 189 jurisdictions without a visa.

Which country in Africa has the most powerful passport?

Seychelles, Mauritius and South Africa hold the most powerful passports in Africa, where Seychelles take the lead with visa-free access to 150 jurisdictions around the world. 

Best passport in Africa

Photo: Alex Erofeenkov/Shutterstock

How many types of passports are there in the world?

There are three types of passports in the world, these are diplomatic, service/official and regular ones.

List of the weakest passports in the world

Citizens of the following countries are holders of the weakest passports in the world, with visa-free access to fewer than 40 countries. Afghanistan has the world’s weakest passport with visa-free access to just 26 countries. 

With the exception of Nepal, Nepal, Bangladesh, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan, all other countries on the list are either involved in a war or have been in recent years. Some of them are also known to be home to terrorist organizations. 

There are many reasons why a country has a weak passport. For example, it can also be due to a lack of relations with other nations or high risk of citizens from there entering other countries to work illegally, etc. 

Passport Rank Country Number of countries with visa-free access
100 North Korea, Sudan 39
101 Nepal, Palestinian Territory 38
102 Libya 37
103 Yemen 33
104 Somalia, Pakistan 32
105 Syria 29
106 Iraq 28
107 Afghanistan 26

Other Passport Indexes

Henley Passport Index isn’t the only index that measures the strength of passports worldwide. Arton Capital’s Passport Index is another reputable index that ranks the most powerful passport in the world. 

The main difference between these is the fact that Henley Passport index gets its data directly from the IATA and is updated throughout the year and they also include more destinations.

Aron Capital’s passport index, on the other hand, exclude the following destinations:

  • Territories annexed to other countries such as Norfolk Island (Australia), French Polynesia (France), British Virgin Islands (Britain), etc. who do not issue their own passports are excluded and not considered as destinations.
  • Countries that issue passports, regardless if they enforce independent visa policies or not are considered as destinations.

For 2019, they listed the United Arab Emirates as the most powerful passport in the world with visa-free access to 167 destinations. I prefer to follow the passport index from Henley since I find it more accurate, and I like the fact that it updates throughout the year. 


Do you have the best passport in the world? Leave a comment below and tell me where you’re from!

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