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We look at what makes the Singapore passport one of the best for travellers—and why Japan has taken the top spot in 2022

As we take our pick of countries to travel to during the summer, it can be easy to overlook the convenience that our Singaporean passports afford us. The Henley Passport Index reminds us of that privilege with its 2022 ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, for which it has named Singapore as second best, right after Japan.

Singapore has fallen from its top spot last year, which it had shared with Japan. This year, Singapore’s runner-up ranking is tied with South Korea instead. The three leading Asian countries are followed by Germany and Spain in the third spot. The top 12 countries on the list are as follows:

Japan (#1)
Singapore (#2)
South Korea (#2)
Germany (#3)
Spain (#3)
Finland (#4)
Italy (#4)
Luxembourg (#4)
Austria (#5)
Denmark (#5)
Netherlands (#5)
Sweden (#5)

What makes the Singapore passport so powerful?

To determine its annual annual Global Passport Ranking list, the Henley Passport Index looks at 17 years of data on travel documents around the world.

The most important factor that it considers is the number of countries that a passport grants access to. For every country that a passport allows its holder to enter without requiring a visa, or simply by obtaining a visa on arrival instead of getting pre-departure approval, it scores a point.

At the second spot, Singapore’s travel document currently allows visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to 192 of the 195 countries in the world. Not too shabby. Japan, meanwhile, was moved up a spot because it now provides hassle-free travel to 193 countries, allowing its citizens to see almost all of the world if they are so inclined.

Admittedly, the difference doesn’t matter much. Both passports grant its holders plenty of travel freedom, especially when compared to the that of the United States (ranked seventh, with access to 186 countries) and other Asian passports like Malaysia (13th, 179 countries), Hong Kong (18th, 171 countries) and China (69th, 80 countries).

Read more: Destinations Less Than 5 Hours’ Flight from Singapore for a Weekend Trip

Why does the Global Passport Ranking matter?

Besides giving passport holders bragging rights, the list helps the world’s richest individuals determine the value of the various citizenships that they may want to apply for. The well-heeled are often well-travelled, after all, and knowing which passport grants them the most mobility is paramount in continuing their jet-setting lifestyle.

Singapore is already home to plenty of global citizens, with over 110,000 expats in its population as of 2021. Its ultra-wealthy population is also one of the highest in the world, with 28 billionaires and over 526,000 millionaires living in the country—a number that is expected to rise in the years to come.

Read more: Meet the 22 Richest Self-Made Billionaires in Singapore For 2021, According to Forbes

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