Global Passport Powerhouses: Singapore Shares the Crown with Five Nations in 2024

Once again, Singapore has solidified its standing as a global leader, with its passport claiming the top position as the world’s most robust in 2024. Joining Singapore at the pinnacle of the Henley Passport Index are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain. This index, which gauges the number of destinations accessible to travelers without a pre-approved visa, underscores the exceptional travel capabilities of these nations—a pivotal metric in today’s era of global business. In a recent press release, Henley & Partners, the consulting firm responsible for the index, highlighted that residents of these six countries can freely explore an impressive 194 destinations worldwide without the need for a visa.

Singapore and Japan, both Asian nations, have consistently held the top spot on the index for the past five years. During this period, Japan maintained its leading position, except in 2023 when it secured the second spot. Singapore, on the other hand, claimed the top rank in 2019, 2021, and 2023, while securing the second place in 2018, 2020, and 2022.

Examining passport rankings within Southeast Asian nations, Malaysia holds the 12th rank with visa-free access to 182 nations. Brunei impressively secures the 20th rank with 168 visa-free destinations, while Timor Leste ranks 56th with 96 visa-free destinations. Thailand secures the 63rd rank with visa-free access to 82 destinations. Indonesia holds the 66th position with 78 visa-free destinations. The Philippines secures the 73rd rank with visa-free access to 69 states. Cambodia is positioned at the 86th rank with 56 visa-free destinations, and Vietnam stands at the 87th position with 55 visa-free destinations. Laos holds the 90th position with 51 visa-free destinations, and Myanmar, occupying the 92nd rank, offers visa-free access to 48 nations, marking the lowest ranking in the region.

When it comes to international travel, the influence of a passport should not be underestimated, as it significantly shapes the ease with which its possessor can traverse borders and embark on new journeys. The Henley Passport Index stands as a global inventory that evaluates countries based on the travel freedom granted to their citizens, providing a comprehensive overview of the world’s most influential passports. This index assesses passports by considering the number of countries their holders can visit without the requirement of a pre-arrival visa. The ranking relies on data supplied by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA), which maintains the most extensive and precise travel information database worldwide. This data undergoes supplementation and updates through in-house research conducted by the firm, alongside other open-source online data. This approach is implemented to uphold the accuracy of the information provided by IATA, especially considering the ongoing updates to visa policies.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been the Henley Passport Index’s biggest upward mover over the last ten years, according to Henley & Partners. According to the company, the United Arab Emirates has improved its visa-free score by 106 destinations since 2014, propelling it up to the 11th rank from the 55th position. According to the press release, China and Ukraine are two of the top five nations with the greatest rankings gains since 2014. With 148 visa-free countries, Ukraine is now ranked 32nd, while China comes in at number 62 with access to 85 visa-free places. On the other end of the scale, Afghanistan comes in at number 104 on the list. 

As a crucial hub for international business and a bridge between Asia and Europe, Singapore benefits significantly from its high passport ranking. In the competitive landscape of the hospitality sector in Asia, where rivals such as Hong Kong, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia prevail, Singapore’s robust passport ranking and diplomatic strengths provide a distinct advantage.