By Talia Avakian
June 01, 2018
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Japan is now home to the world's most powerful passport, according to the Henley Passport Index, granting its holders access to 189 different countries.

Japan recently overtook Singapore, which is now tied with Germany in second place; both have access to 188 countries.

The results are part of citizenship planning firm Henley and Partners’ annual passport index, which ranks passports based on the number of countries a holder can go to without a visa or the number of countries a holder can go to where they can obtain a visa, visitor’s permit, or electronic travel authority upon arrival.

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The firm bases its results on data from the International Air Transport Authority, looking at 199 different passports across 227 destinations and regularly updating the list to reflect recent changes to visa policies. It should be noted that there are multiple passport rankings — Passport Index, which counts only countries that can be entered visa-free, still ranks Singapore as No. 1 with access to 164 countries, while Japan comes in third with 162.

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The majority of the third place passports, which grant access to 187 countries, come from Europe (including Finland, Italy, Sweden, and France) and South Korea. 

Destinations like the U.S., U.K., Norway, and Austria followed in fourth place, with the American passport climbing up one spot from 2017.

While European and North American countries did not see much of a change in visa policies in 2018, countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean have been introducing new immigration and border policy regulations that are bringing them up the ranks.

The U.A.E., which came in 23rd with access to 154 countries, has seen the biggest jump in the ranking, ascending 38 places since 2008. Its passport has gained access to eight new countries this year alone, according to the firm’s representatives.

Below are the the top 10 most powerful passports. The full results are available at Henley and Parners' website

1. Japan — 189 countries 

2. (Tie) Germany, Singapore — 188

3. (Tie) Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, South Korea — 187 

4. (Tie) Norway, U.K., Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, U.S. — 186 

5. (Tie) Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada — 185 

6. (Tie) Australia, Greece — 183 

7. (Tie) New Zealand, Czech Republic, Malta — 182 

8. Iceland — 181 

9. (Tie) Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia — 180 

10. (Tie) Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia — 179