Government AffairsPower of Japanese and Singapore passports diminishes during the pandemic.

Have passport, will travel? Don’t bet on it

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Border closures mean that passports have lost some of the visa-free status.
Border closures mean that passports have lost some of the visa-free status. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Weedezign

At a time when most people have their passports tucked away in a drawer – unused during the global Covid pandemic – some countries’ passports have become more valuable than others.

The closure of so many international borders has taken the shine off some of the world’s best credentialed passports, according to the latest Henley Passport Index.

The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

On that score, pre-Covid, Japan led the way with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 193, followed by Singapore (192) and South Korea (191, equal with Germany).

However, when compared to the actual travel access currently available even to the holders of top-scoring passports, the picture looks quite different: holders of Japanese passports have access to 75 destinations, while holders of Singaporean passports can access 70 destinations (roughly equivalent to the passport power of Kazakhstan, which sits in 74th place).

Passports with the best current access are held by citizens of Australia (84), France (82) and Germany (81). Those passports which have lost a lot of access during the pandemic include the US (61) and the UK (57).

Research and analysis commissioned by Henley & Partners indicates that while advancements have been made to restore international mobility levels to pre-pandemic levels, progress has been slow and is primarily limited to business or emergency travel.

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