By Alison Fox
January 08, 2020
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Japan has the most powerful passport in the world — a feat the Asian nation continues to hold on to — according to the Henley Passport Index, which ranks passports worldwide.

Travelers with a Japanese passport have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 191 different destinations, per the list, which is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Japan came in first place last year as well.

The report, released on Tuesday, showed that passport holders from Asian countries consistently had the most access. Singapore came in second place, with access to 190 destinations, followed by South Korea, which tied for third place with Germany, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 destinations.

“Asian countries’ dominance of the top spots is a clear argument for the benefits of open-door policies and the introduction of mutually beneficial trade agreements,” Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, the chairman of Henley & Partners, said in a statement. “Over the past few years, we have seen the world adapt to mobility as a permanent condition of global life. The latest rankings show that the countries that embrace this reality are thriving, with their citizens enjoying ever-increasing passport power and the array of benefits that come with it.”

The U.S. tied the U.K., Norway, Greece, and Belgium for eighth place, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 184 countries. That is lower than last year, when the U.S. ranked sixth with access to 185 countries, as well as the year before that, when America came in fifth place with access to 186 countries.

According to Henley & Partners, the UAE continues to prove it has one of the most upward trajectories, climbing 47 places in 10 years. This year, the UAE came in 18th place, offering easy access to 171 countries.

When it comes to countries that have the least access, the Henley Passport Index points to Afghanistan, which offers visa-free access to only 26 places. Iraq and Syria also landed in the bottom three.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

These are the top passports to hold in 2020, and the number of countries you can visit without a visa or with a visa on arrival:

1. Japan: 191

2. Singapore: 190

3. South Korea: 189

3. Germany: 189

4. Italy: 188

4. Finland: 188

5. Spain: 187

5. Luxembourg: 187

5. Denmark: 187

6. Sweden: 186

6. France: 186

7. Switzerland: 185

7. Portugal: 185

7. Netherlands: 185

7. Ireland: 185

7. Austria: 185

8. United States: 184

8. United Kingdom: 184

8. Norway: 184

8. Greece: 184

8. Belgium: 184

9. New Zealand: 183

9. Malta: 183

9. Czech Republic: 183

9. Canada: 183

9. Australia: 183

10. Slovakia: 181

10. Lithuania: 181

10. Hungary: 181