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 tied 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 to 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 UAE has been the index’s biggest success story of the past decade, climbing 47 places over the past ten years to sit in 18th place, with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 171.
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.
The best passports to hold in 2020 are:
1. Japan (191 destinations)
2. Singapore (190)
3. South Korea, Germany (189)
4. Italy, Finland (188)
5. Spain, Luxembourg, 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)
The worst passports to hold
Several countries around the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to fewer than 40 countries. These include:
100. North Korea, Sudan (39 destinations)
101. Nepal, Palestinian Territory (38)
102. Libya (37)
103. Yemen (33)
104. Somalia, Pakistan (32)
105. Syria (29)
106. Iraq (28)
107. Afghanistan (26)