I can already hear Japanese people in their hushed muffled voices pointing their passports in the air saying ‘Say hello to my leeet-le friend’ as proud and boastful as Tony Montana in Scarface. And, if it was me in their boots, and a passport as powerful as theirs in my hand, I would probably do the same…or…err…die of ecstasy!

Skirmishes for power among the passports from different countries have seen various throning and dethroning. Recent research shows Japan hosts the most powerful passport with its citizens permitted to travel to 189 out of a possible 218 countries visa-free, yes, I repeat VISA FREE. Now, Singaporean passport rests at second position along with its German counterpart with their citizens permitted to travel to 188 countries visa-free.

The research indicates the UAE to have skyrocketed through the power ladder, ascending 38 places since 2008 securing new visa-waivers for its citizens in 2018 – more than any other country in the world.

Australian passports are no passive observers and have steadily climbed the power ladder with 153 on the list last year to its current score of 183. The most recent addition to list for Australian passport was Indonesia, a famous travel destination for Australians, which required tourists to pay for a visa on arrival.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan and Iraq prop up the table with only 30 countries in its permitted list. Here’s a list of how passports from different countries fare around the world.

Most powerful passports

  1. Japan 189
  2. Germany, Singapore 188
  3. Finland, France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Sweden 187
  4. Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States 186
  5. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland 185
  6. Greece, Australia 183
  7. Czech Republic, Malta, New Zealand 182
  8. Iceland 181
  9. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia 180
  10. Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia

The least powerful passports

  • Djibouti 45
  • Kosovo 44
  • Congo, Iran, North Korea 43
  • Ethiopia, Sri Lanka 42
  • Bangladesh, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan 41
  • Nepal 40
  • Eritrea, Palestinian Territory, Sudan
  • Yemen 37
  • Pakistan 33
  • Somalia, Syria 32
  • Afghanistan, Iraq 30