Henley Passport Index 2020 – How Powerful Is Your Passport?

Every year, the Henley Passport Index calculates the power that the passports of various countries hold. According to their website –

“The Henley Passport Index is the most rigorous and sophisticated measure of global access. It goes beyond a simple ranking of passports to provide you with an in-depth picture of your travel freedom, including which countries you can access with which type of visa, how your passport has changed over the last 14 years, how your passport compares to other passports, why your passport has the level of access it does, and which additional passports would improve your mobility.”

The Index takes into account how many countries offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to passport-holders of various countries.

Let’s see what the Henley Passport Index 2020 tells us.

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Mainting its number 1 position, Japan topped the Index in 2020. Japanese citizens are allowed visa-free/visa-on-arrival entry to 191 countries. Even though it was #1 last year as well, Japan was tied with Singapore last year for the 1st position, with 190 counntries each. However, a change in Brazil’s entry policy put Japan on the top.

Thus, Singapore moved to second place.

In third place are Germany and South Korea, with 189 countries allowing German and South Korean citizens visa-free/visa-on-arrival entry.

Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain tied for 4th place with 188 countries each.

Tied for 5th place are Austria and Denmark, having visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 187 countries each.

The US and the UK are tied for 7th place with 3 other countries.

However, it is important to consider that these rankings are based on the pre-pandemic attitude of countries with regard to foreign nationals.

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Henley’s press release stated –

“Although not reflected in the latest ranking, which does not take temporary travel bans into account, it is eye-opening to consider what travel freedom currently looks like for the holders of once-prestigious passports. For instance, before Covid-19 the US passport usually ranked within the top 10 on the Henley Passport Index in 6th or 7th place, with its citizens able to access 185 destinations around the world without requiring a visa in advance. However, under the current EU ban, the picture looks starkly different. US nationals now have roughly the same level of travel freedom as citizens of Uruguay (included on the EU’s list of welcome countries), which ranks 28th on the index, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 153. In another striking inversion, the US’s dramatic decline in passport power means that Americans find themselves with a similar level of travel freedom usually available to citizens of Mexico (25th on the index, with a score of 159), current travel bans notwithstanding, albeit temporarily.”

You can look at the full index here.

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