Most Powerful passports in 2021 ranked

Posted by David Henning on 11 October 2021

The global gap in travel barriers has never been wider according to the recent report released by the global citizenship and residence advisory firm, Henley and Partners in their 2021 Henley Passport Index.

The Henley Passport Index is the only one of its kind based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). With Historical data spanning 16 years, the index includes 199 passports across 227 travel destinations.

Updated quarterly, the index is considered the standard reference for global citizens and sovereign states when assessing where a passport ranks on the global spectrum.

Increased travel restrictions introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in the widest mobility gap in the index’s 16-year industry.

The index reveals growing inequalities during Covid

The report refers to the growing inequalities, making the suggestion that ‘ restrictive policies initially introduced to contain the spread of Covid-19 are now being conveniently applied to contain mobility from the global south.’

The report makes the statement that ‘the global north has been enforcing aggressive migration containment strategies for some time now through the rigid application of border controls, undermining the movement of persons in various ways. Covid-19-associated travel restrictions are new additions to the toolbox of migration containment instruments employed by the global north to curb mobility from the global south.’

South Africans are well acquainted with this after the long struggle to get removed from the UK’s red list, even though the UK’s rationale went contrary to the scientific and economic consensus.

Christian H. Kaelin, chair of Henley & Partners and creator of the passport index concept, says that these decisions could have far-reaching consequences.

‘If we want to restart the global economy, it is critical that developed nations encourage inward migration flows, as opposed to persisting with outmoded restrictions,’ he says. ‘Resourceful countries need to futureproof their economies by attracting and welcoming the upcoming generation’

2021 Passport-Index

Japan and Singapore share the spoils for the best passport due to their visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 192. Germany and South Korea share the joint second place, with access to 192 countries without a visa or visa-on-arrival.

Japan and Singapore currently bar almost all nationals from entry, with Germany and South Korea restricting 100 nations from entering.

At the lower end of the index, Egypt is ranked 97th, with no travel restrictions in place, but can only access 21 destinations. Afghanistan is ranked 192nd, with access to only 16 countries.

South Africa is ranked 56th on the 2021 index, with access to 101 destinations, falling three spots from 2020, where the nation placed 53rd.

For a full list of the 2021 passport index, visit Henley and Partners here.

Picture: Unsplash


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