Han Myung-Gu/WireImage
Stacey Leasca
February 21, 2018

It’s official: South Korea is having the best month ever.

Not only is the country hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics, but it also just became the home of the world’s most powerful passport.

According to The Passport Index, which is constantly tracking visa bans and country accessibility changes, South Korea tied Singapore for the top spot on the list of most powerful passports for the first time ever with a visa-free score of 162.

“The Passport Index is the world authority on passport ranking,” the site explained in a statement. “Used by governments from around the world to monitor and increase the power of their passports, The Passport Index is the most recognized and trusted service with over 12 million users and counting.”

In the statement Passport Index explained that 2017 saw a massive rise in Asian countries on the index.

"We are currently seeing not one but two Asian countries with the most powerful passports in the world," Armand Arton founder and president of Arton Capital, the company behind the index, shared in a statement. The second country Arton is referring to is Singapore, which tied for first place with a score of 162. Japan also moved into the number three slot with a visa-free score of 161. "This is a testament to the increased global respect and trust Asian countries are commanding,” he said.

According to the index, South Korea was able to move up the list thanks to Uzbekistan granting visa-free access to both South Korea and Singapore.

Prior to South Korea’s rise, Singapore held the top spot alone for several months. 

“Singapore has constantly increased its passport strength since it became independent in 1965,” Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office, told CNN in 2017. “This due to a smart and far-sighted foreign policy, excellent diplomacy and by understanding globalization as an opportunity. Unlike Schengen member countries [in Europe], Singapore decides alone who to grant visa-free access.”

As for the United States, we still sit fairly high on the list, tying for fifth place alongside Canada, Switzerland, and Ireland. The world’s least mobile passport still belongs to Afghanistan, whose owners can only freely travel to 26 nations on Earth.

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