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European Countries Dominate World's Most Powerful Passports List in 2021

Most powerful passport 2021

Despite there are three countries from Asia in the top 3, European countries dominate the top 10 list of the most powerful passports in 2021.

Without taking temporary restrictions into account, Japan continues to hold the number one position on the 2021 Henley Passport Index, with passport holders able to access 191 destinations around the world visa-free. This marks the third consecutive year that Japan has held the top spot, either alone or jointly with Singapore. 

Singapore sits in 2nd position, with access to 190 destinations, and South Korea holds onto 3rd place alongside Germany, with both having a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 189.

At the 4th position, European countries occupy the ranking. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain at the fourth place.
At 5th position, Austria, and Denmark.
At 6th position, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden.
At 7th position, Belgium, Norway, Swtizerland, United Kingdom, United States, and New Zealand
At 8th position, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, and Australia.
At 9th position, Canada.
At 10th position, Hungary.

HENLEY PASSPORT INDEX 2021 Q1

With the US and the UK still facing significant challenges related to the virus, and the passport strength of both countries continuing to steadily erode, the balance of power is shifting. Over the past seven years, the US passport has fallen from the number one spot to 7th place, a position it currently shares with the UK. Due to pandemic-related travel constraints, travelers from both the UK and the US currently face major restrictions from over 105 countries, with US passport holders able to travel to fewer than 75 destinations, while UK passport holders currently have access to fewer than 70.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of leading residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, says that the latest ranking provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary upheaval that characterized 2020. “Just a year ago all indications were that the rates of global mobility would continue to rise, that travel freedom would increase, and that holders of powerful passports would enjoy more access than ever before. The global lockdown negated these glowing projections, and as restrictions begin to lift, the results from the latest index are a reminder of what passport power really means in a world upended by the pandemic.”

With the first Covid-19 vaccine approved just over a month ago, airline industry experts believe that mandatory vaccination before air travel may soon be a necessity. A technological innovation scheduled to launch in Q1 2021 that will contribute to restoring global mobility is IATA’s Travel Pass initiative — a mobile application that enables travelers to store and manage their verified certifications for Covid-19 tests or vaccines.

Experts suggest that in terms of future global mobility, we cannot expect a return to pre-pandemic patterns. Dr. Parag Khanna, bestselling author (The Future Is Asian) and the Founder and Managing Partner of FutureMap in Singapore says that the system will not simply revert to what it was, and that nationality alone will no longer suffice to guarantee safe passage.

Investment migration: An essential insurance policy

Amid these dynamic shifts, the appeal of investment migration remains constant, with countries offering residence and citizenship programs continuing to fare extremely well on the index. Henley & Partners’ CEO Dr. Juerg Steffen says that the volatility driven by Covid-19 has pushed the steadily growing appeal of investment migration into overdrive. “More than being associated with simple ease of travel or acquiring a vacation home, alternative residence and citizenship are now also perceived in terms of their remarkable potential for portfolio diversification, access to global investment and operations, and the creation of a new inheritance and identity for the family. The unexpected and unprecedented events of 2020 have simultaneously exacerbated push factors such as political and economic instability, and reprioritized pull factors, with stability, safety, and access to quality education and healthcare becoming issues of greater concern than ever before. Investment migration is now a standard consideration for international families and entrepreneurs who are looking to hedge volatility and create long-term value through enhanced global mobility.”

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