Singapore now offers the world’s most powerful passport

When it comes to global travel, not all passports are created equal. But which one rules them all?

According to the Passport Index, that honor now belongs solely to Singapore thanks to a recent decision by Paraguay to remove visa requirements for passport holders of the Asian city-state.

Developed by international residence and citizenship advisory firm Arton Capital, the Passport Index is a free online interactive tool that sorts and ranks the world’s passports by their cross-border access.

It says holders of a Singaporean passport can now easily visit 159 countries, either visa-free or by gaining a visa on arrival.

Prior to Paraguay’s decision to remove visa restrictions, Singapore shared the number one spot on the Index with Germany, which has a passport score of 158.

For the first time ever an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world, said Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office.

“Singapore has constantly increased its passport strength since it became independent in 1965,” May explained to CNN.

“This due to a smart and far-sighted foreign policy, excellent diplomacy and by understanding globalization as an opportunity. Unlike Schengen member countries [in Europe], Singapore decides alone who to grant visa-free access.

“Singapore is not locked into a common travel zone (eg. with other ASEAN countries), and never had to impose visa restrictions on foreign nationals only because other ASEAN member countries have restrictions.”

Other Asian passports in the top 20 include those of South Korea, Japan and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the US passport has fallen in favor since President Donald Trump took office, the Passport Index statement said, noting that Turkey and the Central African Republic were the most recent countries to revoke visa-free status to US passport holders.

How does the Index work?

By analyzing the access national passports have to countries around the world, the Passport Index assigns a “visa-free score” — the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival. It also takes the UN Human Development Index into account.

Passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories — ROC Taiwan, Macao (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican — are considered for the index. Territories annexed to other countries are excluded.

New Passport Index power ranking

1. Singapore: 159

2. Germany: 158

3. Sweden, South Korea: 157

4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, Japan, United Kingdom: 156

5. Luxembourg, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Portugal: 155

6. Malaysia, Ireland, Canada, United States: 154

7. Australia, Greece, New Zealand: 153

8. Malta, Czech Republic, Iceland: 152

9. Hungary: 150

10. Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania,Latvia: 149 #beepraizblog

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