World’s most powerful passport: How has Spain overtaken Singapore to the top spot?

World’s most powerful passport: How has Spain overtaken Singapore to the top spot?

Spain now has the world’s most powerful passport, according to a new index.

The ranking from visa information website VisaGuide.World shows Spain inching ahead of Singapore, which held the top spot in the popular Henley Passport Index released in October.

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Japan, in 15th place, is the only other non-European country to make the top 20 in VisaGuide.World’s index.

Germany takes third place, followed by Italy, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Czechia, Portugal, Hungary and Luxembourg.

Austria is in 16th place, with Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland and Poland rounding out the top 20.

How does VisaGuide.World rank passports?

Both the quarterly Henley Passport Index and VisaGuide.World’s Passport Index examine the number of destinations passport holders can access without a visa.

Although generally considered the authority, Henley is yet to release its latest ranking.

In October, it listed Singapore in first place, followed by Japan in second, and Finland, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain and Sweden all in joint third, based purely on the number of destinations they can visit visa-free.

VisaGuide.World takes other factors into consideration, creating a ‘destination significance score’ for each travel destination.

This factors in the type of entry policy a country enforces on a passport — visa-free, ETA, visa on arrival, e-Visa, embassy approved visa, passport-free travel or banned entry. It also assigns points for the country’s GDP, global power and tourism development.

Visa-free access to a country with a high destination significance score earns a passport more points in the index than entry to a country with a low score.

Where can Spanish passport holders travel without a visa?

As of December 2023, Spanish passport holders can travel to 160 countries and territories without a visa.

Although Singaporean passport holders can travel 164 countries, Spain gains points for the many places it can visit with just an ID card under the European Union.

Singapore passport holders have visa free access to 15 countries that Spain doesn’t. These include Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Spain meanwhile, can access 11 countries and territories visa free that Singapore can’t. These include the Falkland Islands, the Marshall Islands, Palau, São Tomé and Príncipe, the Seychelles, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Ukraine and Venezuela.

VisaGuide.World does not specify the ‘destination significance score’ of each country, but these may also affect the outcome of the index.

Germany has visa-free access to the same 160 countries as Spain (with the two countries mutually accepting one another) but Spain enjoys the ease of visa-on-arrival to Papua New Guinea and Togo, whereas Germany has to apply for an e-visa.


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