Three Asian countries have the most useful passport

FILE PHOTO: Three Asian countries have the most useful passport

For years, Europe has had the most powerful passports for travelling, but as the world emerges in the post-Covid-19 era, three countries in Asia hold the top spots now. Japan holds the top spot, with Japanese passport holders having easy access to 193 different countries. Singapore and South Korea are tied for second with 192 countries easily accessed with a passport from either of the two countries. (Thailand, by the way, ranks 65th on the list, with 79 countries not requiring visas for Thais to enter.)

The index that holds these three Asian countries as the top passports for travel is the Henley Passport Index, a list of country passports compiled by immigration consultancy firm Henley & Partners. The group ranks 199 different passports each year and how many of a maximum 227 countries and territories a person could get into without a visa if they hold each particular passport. The list considers for stays at least three days (not transit travel) and assumes that all vaccination and immunisation requirements are met.

Just 5 years ago, Asian countries rarely cracked the top 10 of the Henley Passport Index and European countries such as Germany, which slipped behind South Korea now, filled much of the top spots. Now Japan, Singapore, and South Korea top the list, with other Asian countries scattered throughout the list. Malaysia ranked 12th, Hong Kong 18th, Brunei 22nd, Taiwan 32nd, and Macau 33rd.

Around Thailand, only Malaysia beat the Kingdom, with Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar ranking 89th (54 countries), 90th (53 countries), 93rd (50 countries), and 97th (46 countries) respectively. Famously isolationist North Korea ranks 104th (39 countries), but actually beat out 8 other countries, with the bottom spot being held by Afghanistan, whose passport only allows entry to 26 countries.

Despite many countries imposing restrictions after their invasion of Ukraine, Russia sits at 46th place with access to 119 countries, while the Ukrainian passport ranks 34th, able to access 143 countries. The UK barely beat out the US, 6th and 7th with 187 and 186 countries easily accessed respectively.

The top ten list, including ties:

Passport issuing country Visa-free
1 Singapore 192
2 Germany 190
South Korea
3 Finland 189
4 Austria 188
5 Ireland 187
United Kingdom
6 Belgium 186
New Zealand
United States
7 Australia 185
Czech Republic
8 Hungary 183
9 Poland 182
10 Estonia 181

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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