Asian countries dominate in passport power in 2019

Asian countries dominate in passport power in 2019

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Japan goes into the new year holding the 1st place on the Henley Passport Index, with citizens enjoying visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations. In a further display of Asian passport power, Singapore and South Korea now sit in joint 2nd place, with access to 189 destinations around the globe. Germany and France remain in 3rd place going into 2019, with a visa-free score of 188. The US and the UK continue to drop down the Henley Passport Index — which is based on authoritative data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — and now sit in joint 6th place, with access to 185 destinations. This is a significant fall from the 1st place position that these countries held in 2015, and while a big question mark remains over the ultimate impact of Brexit, it is unlikely that either country will reclaim the top spot anytime soon.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says despite rising isolationist sentiment in some parts of the world, most countries remain committed to collaboration and mutually beneficial agreements. “Historical data from the Henley Passport Index over the past 14 years shows an overwhelming global tendency towards visa-openness. In 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by the end of 2018, this number had nearly doubled to 107.”
China’s steady ascent up the rankings is a clear demonstration of this. In 2017, the country was ranked 85th, with citizens able to access just 51 destinations. Going into 2019, China now sits in 69th place, with access to 74 countries around the world. Similarly, the United Arab Emirates continues its upward trajectory, now holding top spot in the Middle East region and 22nd place globally.
As in 2018, countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs continue to hold their strong positions on the index. Malta sits in 9th spot, with access to 182 destinations and St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda hold 27th and 28th spot respectively, while Moldova remains in a strong position at 46th place, with citizens able to access 122 countries.
Dr. Juerg Steffen, the CEO of Henley & Partners, say the enduring appeal of investment migration programs shows that people are increasingly embracing alternative citizenship as the best way to access previously unimagined opportunities and improve their passport power. “More and more countries are looking to launch CBI programs, which attract talented individuals and bring enormous economic and societal benefits to their nations.”
Boasting cutting-edge expert commentary and historical data spanning 14 years, the Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information, and it is enhanced by extensive, ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.
The Henley Passport Index is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect. Along with the Henley & Partners – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index, it is considered a major reference tool for global citizens and the standard reference for governments in this field.
About the Henley Passport Index website
The Henley Passport Index website provides up-to-date, printable lists of the countries you can access visa-free, with an e-visa, with a visa on arrival, or with a normal visa. It also allows you to compare the strength of passports and understand how you might improve your travel freedom with alternative citizenship. Visit the website to view and download the global ranking and find out more about the power of your passport.
About the 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report
The 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report is a unique publication that brings together commentary from leading scholars and professional experts on the major trends shaping global and regional mobility patterns today.
In addition, the report features fresh analysis of the latest developments on the Henley Passport Index, original scholarly research into the relationship between democracy and travel freedom, and on-the-ground insights into the future of migration technology.
Headlines 2019 versus 2018
• Japan holds the top spot on the Henley Passport Index for the second year running, offering citizens visa-free access to a record 190 destinations.
• Singapore continues to hold 2nd place, along with South Korea, which has moved up from 3rd place, with citizens able to access 189 destinations.
• From the 2nd place it held at the beginning of 2018, Germany now drops to 3rd place, with access to 188 destinations. It shares this position with France.
• Denmark, Italy, Finland, and Sweden share joint 4th place, with access to 187 destinations around the globe.
• The UK drops from 4th place to 6th place, while the US drops from 5th place to 6th place, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 185 destinations.
• In further demonstrations of Asian passport power, China moved five places up the rankings from the beginning of 2018, from 74th to 69th, while Cambodia (84th), Laos (86th), and Myanmar (90th) have each moved up four places.
• The UAE climbed five places up the rankings, from 27th place at the beginning of 2018, to 22nd place currently.
• Afghanistan and Iraq continue to hold joint last place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 30.
Headlines over the past decade
• The UAE is the strongest individual climber over the past decade, from 61st place in 2009 to 22nd place currently.
• South Korea has moved 10 places up the rankings since 2009, when it held the 12th place with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 144.
• The past decade has seen a marked decline in many African countries’ rankings. Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Gambia, and South Africa have all dropped at least 18 places since 2009.
• There have been other significant declines, particularly in states affected by ongoing war and violence. Syria has dropped 21 places since 2009, Yemen has dropped 19 places, Somalia and Iraq have both dropped 16 places, and Afghanistan has dropped 15.
• Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Ukraine have all improved their global rank by 15 or more positions since 2009.
• In 2009, there were 24 countries in the top 10 positions of the index, with 17 of those countries located in Europe, and two in Asia. At the beginning of 2019, there are 27 countries in the top 10 positions on the index, with 20 of those countries located in Europe, and three in Asia.
• In 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by 2018, this number had nearly doubled to 107.
About Henley & Partners
Henley & Partners is the global leader in residence and citizenship planning. Each year, hundreds of wealthy individuals and their advisors rely on our expertise and experience in this area. The firm’s highly qualified professionals work together as one team in over 30 offices worldwide.

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