- The Straits Times
The votes are in, and Singapore officially holds the second most powerful passport in the world.
According to the 2018 Henley Passport Index released today (Jan 10), the Lion City moved up two spots to clinch second place globally – with Singaporeans enjoying visa-free access to 176 countries.
The annual rankings are based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in-house research and 13 years of historical data.
Of the 199 countries featured in the index, 143 improved their rank over the past year while 41 countries maintained their position.
Germany retained its leading position for the fifth year running with visa-free access to 177 countries, while Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the UK were tied for third place with visa-free access to 175 countries.
But while Germany continues to lead the pack for now – the battle is far from over.
In fact, a separate ranking called Passport Index developed by global financial advisory Arton Capital, placed Singapore in first place in Oct last year.
Singapore has also maintained its stronghold over the Southeast Asian region. Malaysia came in second with visa-free access to 166 countries.
Mr Dominic Volek, managing partner of Henley & Partners Singapore and head of Southeast Asia, said: “From a macroeconomic perspective, global mobility and migration will always make sense. However, there continues to be challenges around this hot-button issue that needs to be effectively addressed.”
According to him, access, connectivity and shared prosperity are factors driving the need for greater travel freedom.