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Japan has the No. 1 most powerful passport in the world for 2023—see where the U.S. lands on the list

According to the 2023 Henley Passport Index, Japan is the world's most powerful passport.
Prapass Pulsub | Moment | Getty Images

This month, the International Air Transport Association released the 2023 Henley Passport Index, which reveals the world's most powerful passports.

The Henley Passport Index measures visa-free access to 227 destinations across the world. It ranks the world's passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

A key finding from the index is what they call the "direct link between passport strength and access to the global economy."

For example, the Japanese passport gives visa-free access to 193 destinations, which accounts for a whopping 98% of the global economy. On the other end, citizens of the index's lowest-ranking countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq (visa-free score of 29), and Syria (visa-free score of 30) are effectively shut out of various opportunities for economic mobility and growth.

No. 1 most powerful passport in the world: Japan

Japan topped the index as the country with the most powerful in the world for the fifth consecutive year.

As of 2023, Japanese passport holders can visit 193 of 227 destinations visa-free, which is 85% of the world, according to data from the International Air Transport Association compiled by Henley & Partners.

The most powerful passports in the world

  1. Japan
  2. Singapore and South Korea
  3. Germany and Spain
  4. Finland, Italy, and Luxembourg
  5. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden
  6. France, Ireland, Portugal, and the U.K.
  7. Belgium, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the U.S.
  8. Australia, Canada, Greece, and Malta
  9. Hungary and Poland
  10. Lithuania and Slovakia

Two other countries in Asia ranked second: South Korea and Singapore. Both passports allow for passport-holding citizens to 192 countries without a visa.

Germany and Spain tied for third with access to 190 destinations.

The U.S. passport tied in seventh place with Belgium, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland. All of the countries offer citizens visa-free visits to 186 countries.

Although the Henley Passport Index states that it expects the U.S. to remain solidly at no. 7 on the list, last year's Global Citizen Solutions Global Passport Index named the U.S. passport the world's most powerful based on its ranking of investment, quality of life and enhanced mobility indices in 2022.

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