World’s Most Powerful Passports

Passports (Baigal)The word passport is from the 1500 French terms passer and port which means authorization to pass through a gate of a city wall. A passport helps to travel across the world and allows holders to cross borders with ease. But some are more influential than others.

Financial firm Arton Capital has put together a ranking of the world’s most powerful passports which allows holders the most global mobility based on how many countries can be visited without a visa or by getting one upon arrival.

It comes to no surprise that developed countries with advanced economies have a distinct advantage. Is it because their holders are most likely to return home? Do countries want to invite holders to visit them and conduct business in their territory? Or are they afraid of the repercussions from prohibiting these visitors?

Tied for first place are U.S. and U.K. passports which give holders access to 147 countries. But the U.S. passport prohibits travel to countries they consider as states that sponsor terrorism such as Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. And despite recent changes, Americans still face a lot of hurdles for travelling to Cuba.

Top-ranked passports are as follows:

Access to number of countries
U.S.; U.K. 147
France, South Korea, Germany 145
Sweden, Italy 144
Denmark, Singapore, Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands 143
Switzerland 142


On the other hand, passport holders from emerging economies such as China and India are not as lucky with access only to 74 and 59 destinations respectively. But African and Middle Eastern nations have the least powerful passports:

Access to number of countries
Congo, Yemen, Central African Republic, Kosovo 41
Equitorial Guinea, Bhutan, Comoros, Burundi 40
Somalia, Eritrea 39
Afghanistan, Djibouti, Iraq, Ethiopia, Nepal 38
South Sudan, Solomon Islands, Palestinian Territories, Sao Tome and Principe, Myanmar 28