The Henley Passport Index power ranking is one of the most straight-forward metrics on the planet. It tracks the cumulative number of countries a passport provides access to (visa-free or visa-on-arrival access).
It wasn’t all that long ago that the United States of America Passport was the most powerful passport in the world. Back in 2015, the US and UK passports were tied at #1 with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries around the world.
Flash forward to current day and the United States passport ranks 5th. Actually, if you add up all the countries ahead of the USA (there are 10) the US is actually tied for 17th because there are 7 countries ranked 5th on the list. I mentioned that the Henley Passport Index power ranking is very straight-forward. It tracks all countries based on the total access number and since USA is tied for the 5th most countries passport holders can visit the index says the US passport is tied for 5th.
Japan is the new #1 with passport holders able to access a whopping 190 countries across the globe. Singapore is #2 with 189. Tied for 3rd with access to 188 countries are Germany, France, and South Korea. In 4th with access to 187 countries are Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain.
Scroll down the list to 5th place with access to 186 countries and you’ll find the United States of America tied with Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Portugal. One spot down the list with access to 185 countries are Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, and Ireland.
Australia, Greece, and Malta are in 7th with access to 183 countries. New Zealand and the Czech Republic have access to 182 countries in 8th place. Iceland is alone on the list in 9th with access to 181 countries. And the top 10 rounds up with Hungary, Slovenia, and Malaysia who each have access to 180 countries.
Russia’s fallen to 47th on the list in the biggest drop of any country. The United Arab Emirates is the biggest success story on the index, moving from 62nd twelve years ago to 21st this year. China’s moved up 14 places since last year and now sits at 71st after Chinese citizens were granted access to Saint Lucia and Myanmar.
At the very bottom of the list are the Afghanistan and Iraq passports who only have access to 30 visa-free or visa-on-arrival countries. Syria and Somalia are just behind at 32 and Pakistan’s at 33.
What does all of this mean for you? Probably not a whole lot. There’s a slim chance you’ll ever visit even a fraction of the 186 countries a US passport gains access to. But it’s nice to know that the possibility is on the table, right?