9 JANUARY 2018
Germany has maintained first place on the Henley Passport Index for the fifth year running, with its citizens enjoying visa-free access to 177 countries in total, up from 176 countries in 2017.Singapore ranks second globally in the 2018 edition of the index, with visa-free access to 176 countries, while eight countries – Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the UK – share third place, offering passport-holders access to 175 countries.Ranking jointly fourth on the index, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain all of which provide visa-free access to 174 countries.
The increasing divide in global mobility
The continuing movement towards greater visa-free access, potentially highlights a global desire of governments to increase global mobility and their access to foreign migration.Dr. Christian H. Kälin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, said, “There is no denying that a global mobility divide exists. We are also seeing a growing tendency towards a more isolationist, immigration-hostile policy among traditional migrant-receiving countries such as the US, and 2018 will bring further uncertainty, with the UK still in the grip of ongoing Brexit negotiations.“Nonetheless, only a small minority of countries on the Henley Passport Index lost visa-free access in 2018. By and large, countries either improved or maintained their access compared to 2017.“These findings reflect the fact that, while certain countries are tightening their borders, most are in fact becoming more open, as they seek to tap into the immense economic value that tourism, international commerce and migration can bring.”
Which countries offer the most visa-free access?
The Henley Passport Index maintains historical data spanning 13 years. The global ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).The US is among the countries holding fifth place in the 2018 edition of the index, improving its visa-free score from 172 in 2017 to 173 in 2018.The Russian Federation, meanwhile, climbed three places to 48th position. China has shown the most growth in North Asia over the past year, moving up 10 places compared to 2017 and now ranking 75th globally.