The most powerful passport in the world

New Zealand passport

The New Zealand passport is the most powerful in the world, according to the latest rankings from Passport Index.

It shared the top ranking with Japan in 2019 but now New Zealand stands alone. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand is in a travel bubble.

The Passport Index investigates the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories.

The New Zealand passport currently has visa-free access or visa on entry to 129 countries. That’s up from 80 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic earlier in the year, but less than the total of 169 in 2019.

“New Zealand’s excellent handling of the COVID-19 crisis is reflected in its citizens quickly being accepted to travel to other nations,” Passport Index’s Hrant Boghossian told NZ Stuff.

“USA passport holders, for example, were able to travel to the same number of countries as New Zealand (80). Due to the poor handling of COVID-19, not many countries welcome American travellers and their Mobility Score has only recovered by 15 per cent to 92 countries.”

Japan has slipped to second with a score of 128, alongside Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea and Australia.

The worst passports in the world belong to countries in civil war with a history of terrorist activities – Afghanistan and Iraq. The citizens from the two countries only have access to 31 countries visa-free.

Boghossian said the coronavirus pandemic shows the advantage of having multiple passports.

“Having more than one passport allows you to have options. Options to travel, relocate, escape and even survive local economic, health or political crises. Being a global citizen was a luxury that has now become a necessity,” he said.

Global Passport Power Rank 2020

  1. New Zealand – 129
  2. Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea, Japan, Australia – 128
  3. Sweden, Belgium, France, Finland, Italy, Spain – 127
  4. Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Lithuania, Norway, Iceland, UK, Canada – 126
  5. Malta, Slovenia, Latvia – 125
  6. Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Liechtenstein – 124
  7. Slovakia – 123
  8. Cyprus, Croatia, Monaco – 121
  9. Romania, Bulgaria – 120
  10. San Marino, Andorra, Uruguay – 115

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