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The World’s Most Powerful Passports for 2024

By Rachel Gresh
Read time: 3 minutes

Curious travelers want to know: Which passport is the best? Fortunately, finding the answer is easy thanks to the Henley Passport Index, an annual ranking of the most powerful passports in the world. The index, one of the leading authorities in passport strength, is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which supports and promotes the benefits of global aviation. Is your passport among the most valuable in the 2024 ranking? Read on to find out.

What Makes a Passport Powerful? 

Close-up of traveler holding red passport in one hand and luggage handle in the other
Credit: nrjwolf/ Unsplash 

The strength of a passport is determined by how many countries its holders can enter without having to obtain a visa beforehand — the more countries with visa-free entry, the stronger the passport. A visa is an official document issued to a traveler that must be carried (along with a passport) throughout the visit, granting the traveler the right to enter and remain in the requested country for a predetermined amount of time. Applications, medical screenings, and even interviews are sometimes necessary to obtain a prior visa — so the ability to travel without one is much more convenient. 

Even if your passport didn’t make it to the top of the list this year, there is good news: Since 2006 (when the Henley Passport Index was first launched), the average number of destinations that provide travelers visa-free access has doubled from 58 to 111, indicating that international travel is becoming more popular and accessible than ever before. 

Six Countries Tied for First Place

Flowers and colorful buildings lining cobblestone street in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany
Credit: SCStock/ iStock via Getty Images 

In 2024, six passports tied for first place in the Henley Passport Index, each boasting visa-free access to 194 countries (a record-breaking number of nations). These passport holders have travel access to roughly 85% of the countries around the world. The top six passports for 2024 are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Spain. Not only are they in first place this year, but these passports have consistently dominated the Henley Passport Index since its inception in 2006. 

Although there is a six-way tie for first place, when comparing these passports, Japan is the most powerful passport in recent history. It has held the number-one spot since 2018. In 2023, Japan stood alone in first place, with access to 193 countries, gaining an edge over Singapore and South Korea (which tied for second place in 2023). Singapore is also a particularly powerful passport — it has intermittently held first or second place since 2018.

Other Top Contenders

Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea, surrounded by lake, mountains, and fall foliage
Credit: tawatchaiprakobkit/ iStock via Getty Images 

Although they might not be in first place, the other passports ranked in the top 10 are still plenty powerful. Coming in second this year with visa-free access to 193 countries, South Korea has made an impressive climb from 11th place in 2006 and has held second place since 2021. Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden are currently tied with South Korea for second place. 

All of the top-ranking passports for 2024 (from first to third place) are from Europe or Asia, and offer access to at least 192 destinations. The U.S. passport holds steady in sixth place (with 189 countries), moving up one place from its seventh-place ranking in 2023. America hasn’t been in first place for a decade, since 2014, when it tied with the U.K. at the top of the list.

The Top Passports for 2024

Close-up image of person holding U.S. passport at airport kiosk machine
Credit: SDI Productions/ E+ via Getty Images 

Below is the list of the top 30 most powerful passports in 2024 and the number of visa-free entries the passport offers. Among those on this list, 20 are member states of the European Union, making it the most powerful passport region in the world. The entire global list and lists from previous years are available on the Henley Passport Index website.

1. France (194)

1. Germany (194)

1. Italy (194)

1. Japan (194)

1. Singapore (194)

1. Spain (194)

2. Finland (193)

2. Netherlands (193)

2. South Korea (193)

2. Sweden (193)

3. Austria (192)

3. Denmark (192)

3. Ireland (192)

3. Luxembourg (192)

3. United Kingdom (192)

4. Belgium (191)

4. Norway (191)

4. Portugal (191)

5. Australia (190)

5. Greece (190)

5. Malta (190)

5. New Zealand (190)

5. Switzerland (190)

6. Canada (189)

6. Czech Republic (189)

6. Poland (189)

6. United States (189)

7. Hungary (188)

7. Lithuania (188)

8. Estonia (187)

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