The Best and Worst Passports to Travel on

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We all love to travel, but international travel is more accessible to some than others. Whether it is due to money, geographical location, or restricted time off work, not everyone can travel as much as they want. And sometimes it's just down to the dumb luck of your nationality. You might not realize it, but passport privilege is real.

Your ability to gain entry to other countries depends on international politics. If your nation has good international relations, is powerful, and has a strong economy, more doors will be open for you.

passport_map

The amount of countries you can visit without a visa or with a visa on arrival is called “passport strength.” Every year, the Henley Passport Index ranks all the world's nationalities by the strength of their passport. They get their data directly from the Air Transport Authority (IATA). They then score each nationality on their visa requirements for entry to other countries. This can be visa-free, visa on arrival, e-visa, and visa required. All those data combined create the Passport Index.

Another popular passport ranking is the Arton Capital’s Passport Index. It differs slightly from the Henley Passport Index because it takes fewer countries into account. Where Arton's only counts the 193 UN member countries and six territories, Henley’s takes 199 passports and 227 travel destinations into consideration. The results are similar, but Henley is a little more extensive and accurate as it is updated throughout the year when visa agreements change.

So, let’s take a closer look at the Henley Passport Index ranking the strongest and weakest passports. These are the best and worst passports to travel on.

1. Japan & Singapore and South Korea

japan_geisha
She'll be able to travel the world with her passport

These Asian countries tie for first place in the 2019 Global Ranking by Henley Passport Index. All three countries offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 countries.

That means people with a Japanese, Singaporean, or South Korean passport can travel to almost all countries in the world! All three of these countries are influential in the region, with strong economies and good international political ties.

2. Germany

germany_flags
this flag belongs to one of the strongest passports

Germany is also great at international diplomacy, which shows in their ranking at number 2. Out of all the EU countries, Germany has the strongest passport. A German passport can get you visa-free access to 188 countries.

That’s why you are bound to meet many Germans traveling all over the world!

3. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy & Sweden

france_paris_eiffel_tower
The Eiffel tower has become the most recognizable landmark of France

Within the EU, people are free to move wherever they want.

An EU nationality allows you to work and live in all other EU countries. This is why most of Europe scores high on the Passport Index. The countries tied for third place all belong to the Schengen Area as well, an open border agreement. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden all over visa-free entry to 187 countries.

The Worst Passports to Travel on:

1. Pakistan

pakistan_flag
With a Pakistani passport, you're pretty limited in your destination choice

Where some passports allow you to travel all over the world, others limit where you can go without a visa. The Pakistani passport is one of the weakest and takes second to last place in the Henley Passport Index. Pakistani nationals can travel visa-free to a mere 33 countries.

2. Somalia & Syria

syria_flag
Due to political unrest, the Syrian passport is one of the weakest in the world

Where some passports allow you to travel all over the world, others limit where you can go without a visa. The Pakistani passport is one of the weakest and takes second to last place in the Henley Passport Index. Pakistani nationals can travel visa-free to a mere 33 countries.

3. Afghanistan & Iraq

afghanistan_old_man
With his passport, he won't be able to travel much

The bottom place in the Henley Passport Index goes to Afghanistan and Iraq. Those countries have the worst passports in the world. Their citizens can travel without a visa to 30 countries.

Let’s hope that international relations improve and they can negotiate better travel opportunities for Afghani and Iraqi passport holders.

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Sophie

I'm a Dutch digital nomad. I travel the world while working remotely as a freelance writer, blogger and translator. My travel style is solo budget backpacking and I love the adventure that comes with it.

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