This Is Now The Most Sought-After Passport In The World

Photo: Anna Jay
As many of us swiftly realised following the Brexit vote, some countries' passports are more valuable than others. While a record number of Britons have since applied for Irish passports to safeguard their rights to live and work in the EU post-Brexit, UK passports are still more "powerful", according to a new ranking.
The 2017 Global Passport Index ranks passports based on their "total visa-free score", giving a point for each country that holders can travel to visa-free, with a visa on arrival or via electronic travel authorisation. A UK passport gives Britons access to 156 countries, while Irish passport holders can visit 154.
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The ranking of 193 countries, developed by advisory firm Arton Capital, puts Singapore at the top of the list this year – making it the first time an Asian country has ever had the most powerful passport in the world, reported CNN.
Passport holders in the Asian city-state have easy access to 159 countries this year, more than the 158 accessible to German passport holders, which came second in the ranking. Prior to a recent decision by Paraguay to remove visa restrictions for Singaporean passport holders, the two countries were neck and neck.
It's no accident that Singapore has the most powerful passports, however, according to Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital's Singapore office. He said it's all down to "a smart and far-sighted foreign policy", "excellent diplomacy" and an understanding of globalisation as an opportunity. It also controls which countries it grants visa-free access, unlike members of Europe's Schengen area.
"Singapore is not locked into a common travel zone (eg. with other ASEAN countries), and never had to impose visa restrictions on foreign nationals only because other ASEAN member countries have restrictions," May continued.
No surprises for guessing what's happened to US passports under President Trump. Since countries such as Turkey and the Central African Republic took away visa-free status for US passport holders, their power has fallen. Even the UK's are more powerful, which is saying something.

The world's most powerful passports in 2017

1. Singapore: 159
2. Germany: 158
3. Sweden, South Korea: 157
4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, Japan, United Kingdom: 156
5. Luxembourg, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Portugal: 155
6. Malaysia, Ireland, Canada, United States: 154
7. Australia, Greece, New Zealand: 153
8. Malta, Czech Republic, Iceland: 152
9. Hungary: 150
10. Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia: 149
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