The Most Powerful Passports 2021: Ranking, Importance, And More
For many people, travelling is a therapeutic activity that allows them to enjoy the pleasure of meeting new people and experience cultures that lie beyond their respective hometowns. For travellers to enjoy this privilege, they need passports or government-issued documents that legitimise their stay abroad.
What many passengers do not know is that every passport has its own "strength." In this article, Tatler discusses what this is all about and how passports are ranked according to their power.
How Are Countries Ranked?
Annually, the London-based research firm Henley & Partners rank passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without visa or conditional authorisation granted by a territory to a foreigner. The research team gathers exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA)- the largest, most accurate travel information database.
This year, Japan and Singapore hold the position as the countries with the strongest passport in the world. According to Henley & Partners chairperson Christian H. Kaelin, a major disruption in global mobility rankings may be seen based on a country's vaccination programs and willingness to open borders. "In many countries, serious doubts have arisen as to the ability to handle a global crisis, with the subsequent embrace of more inward-looking priorities."
"Increasing isolationism and deglobalisation will no doubt have profound consequences, among them further damage to the world's economy (and) a significant reduction in global mobility," he added.
TOP 10 Ranking (In order):
- Japan and Singapore— Can go to 192 countries without visa.
- Germany and South Korea— Can go to 190 countries without visa.
- Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain—Can go to 189 countries without visa.
- Austria and Denmark— Can go to 188 countries without visa.
- France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden— Can go to 187 countries without visa.
- Belgium, New Zealand, and Switzerland—Can go to 186 countries without visa.
- Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States— Can go to 185 countries without visa.
- Australia and Canada— Can go to 184 without visa.
- Hungary—Can go to 183 without visa.
- Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia—Can go to 182 without visa.
How About The Philippines?
This year, Philippine passport plunged to 83rd place. For the past two years, the country was in the 74th spot. In separate statements, several senators have raised concern over the low ranking of Philippine passports in the 2021 Henley Passport Index.
Senator Francis Tolentino urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to not take the matter lightly. “It is indicative not just of the survey done, but the power of our passport. The passport is the badge of citizenship and you should be proud of that. Now, if our passport is downgraded, it seems the reception of the host country is also somewhat downgraded,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III stressed that passports reflect the country's power. "It is indicative not just of the survey done, but the power of our passport. The passport is the badge of citizenship and you should be proud of that," he explained.
Relevance of having a strong passport
Having a strong passport means its holder can enjoy travelling to more out of the country locations without having to apply and wait for visa approvals. It is important to note that while some Filipinos consider travelling as a luxury, there are those who fly in and out of the country to become workers abroad.
As of this writing, Philippine passport holders can access 65 travel destinations without a visa. These places include Taiwan (14 days), Singapore (30days), Indonesia (30 days), Fiji (four months), Brunei (14 days), Israel (90 days), and more.