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The World's Most Powerful Passports for 2023

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(CNN) – A trio of Asian passports offer holders greater freedom to travel globally than any other country, according to a new quarterly report released by Henley & Partners, a London-based global residency and citizenship consultancy.

Japanese citizens enjoy visa-free or on-demand access to a record 193 destinations worldwide, just ahead of Singapore and South Korea, whose citizens can freely visit 192.

And now that Asia-Pacific is opening up post-Covid, its citizens are more likely to use that freedom to travel again.

Global travel is now at around 75% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest release of the Henley Passport Index, based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Below the Asian top three, a glut of European countries are near the top of the leaderboard. Germany and Spain are tied at 190 destinations, followed by Finland, Italy and Luxembourg at 189.

Then there are Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, all tied for fifth place, while France, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom are in sixth place.

New Zealand and the United States appear in 7th position, alongside Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Afghan nationals are once again at the bottom of the index and can access only 27 countries without the need for a prior visa.

Other indices

The Henley & Partner list is one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.

The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a visa. It is updated in real time throughout the year as and when visa policy changes take effect.

The Arton Capital Passport Index takes into account the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories — ROC Taiwan, Macau (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and Vatican City. Territories annexed to other countries are excluded.

It is also updated in real time throughout the year, but its data is collected through close monitoring of the portals of each government. It’s a tool “for people who travel to provide accurate and easily accessible information for their travel needs,” Arton Capital founder Armand Arton told CNN in December.

Arton’s Global Passport Power Rank 2023 places the UAE in first place with a Visa Waiver/Visa on Arrival score of 181.

As for second place, this is occupied by 11 countries, most of which are in Europe: Germany, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and South Korea.

The United States and the United Kingdom are in third place, alongside Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Poland, Ireland and New Zealand.

The Best Passports to Own in 2023, According to the Henley Passport Index

1. Japan (193 destinations)

2. Singapore, South Korea (192 destinations)

3. Germany, Spain (190 destinations)

4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg (189 destinations)

5. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden (188 destinations)

6. France, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom (187 destinations)

7. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United States, Czech Republic (186 destinations)

8. Australia, Canada, Greece, Malta (185 destinations)

9. Hungary, Poland (184 destinations)

10. Lithuania, Slovakia (183 destinations)

The Worst Passports to Hold in 2023, According to the Henley Passport Index

Several countries around the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 40 or fewer countries. These include:

102. North Korea (40 destinations)

103. Nepal, Palestinian territory (38 destinations)

104. Somalia (35 destinations)

105. Yemen (34 destinations)

106. Pakistan (32 destinations)

107. Syria (30 destinations)

108. Iraq (29 destinations)

109. Afghanistan (27 destinations)