8 Countries With the Most Useful Passports

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Excited happy woman traveler in an airport holding a passport for international trip
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If you have limited experience traveling internationally, you may not realize that going to another country often isn’t as simple as flashing your passport at the customs gate. Most nations require some visitors to obtain a visa before crossing the border.

Whether you need a visa or can skip that step depends largely on the country that issued your passport. For instance, those with a passport from Afghanistan can access only 27 destinations — 12% of the world — without a visa, the smallest share of any country.

To determine which countries are on the other end of the spectrum — those with the most “powerful” passports — the annual Henley Passport Index looks at visa-free access for 199 different passports to 227 travel destinations. (It considers countries that offer visas on arrival as visa-free destinations.) Its rankings are based on exclusive data provided by the International Air Transport Authority.

According to the index, the following are the most useful passports, offering visa-free access to the most countries in the world. (Spoiler alert: You won’t find the U.S. passport here — it is in a six-way tie for seventh place and offers visa-free access to 187 destinations.)

Luxembourg

Luxembourg passport
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Number of travel destinations this country’s passport grants access to: 190

Little Luxembourg is a landlocked European nation that is surrounded by France, Germany and Belgium. The country is well-known as a finance and investment center. Despite its small size, Luxembourg has one of the most powerful passports in the world, and holders can access 190 international destinations without obtaining a visa in advance.

Italy

Italian passport from Italy
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Number of travel destinations this country’s passport grants access to: 190

Italy attracts tourists from around the globe who flock to cities such as Venice, Naples and Rome. Residents of the Mediterranean nation who want to escape the crowds will find their Italian passport gains them easy access to 190 countries worldwide.

Finland

Finnish passport from Finland
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Number of travel destinations this country’s passport grants access to: 190

Given that they live somewhere consistently ranked as one of the happiest places on earth, Finnish people might not feel the need to leave their country. But if they do, their passport will give them plenty of options.

Spain

Spanish passport from Spain
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Number of travel destinations this country’s passport grants access to: 191

Home to more than 42 million people, Spain sits on Europe’s Iberian peninsula and has coastlines on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The country had the distinction of being the most visited place in the world in 2021. All those travelers are undoubtedly good for the economy, but residents who are feeling overrun might want to pick up their passport and go on holiday themselves.

Germany

German passport from Germany
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Number of travel destinations this country’s passport grants access to: 191

Living in Germany comes with perks such as access to tuition-free universities. And if you’re a citizen, you can apply for one of the most powerful passports in the world; it provides visa-free access to 191 destinations.

South Korea

South Korea passport
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Number of travel destinations this country’s passport grants access to: 192

The eastern Asian country of South Korea — officially called the Republic of Korea — is home to more than a powerhouse passport. It is also the headquarters of electronics company Samsung, which is poised to build the world’s largest semiconductor complex in the country. Once completed, it will manufacture critical electronics components to be used across the globe.

Singapore

Singapore passport
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Number of travel destinations this country’s passport grants access to: 193

Singapore is a city, a country and an island, all rolled into one. Located near Malaysia in Southeast Asia, it is one of the world’s most prosperous nations, according to the CIA. Beyond a powerful economy, this country has a powerful passport that provides visa-free access to 193 destinations.

Japan

Japanese passport from Japan
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Number of travel destinations this country’s passport grants access to: 193

Japan ties with Singapore as having the most useful passport in the world. It too will give holders easy admittance to 193 places around the globe. Could that be one reason why this island nation in East Asia is also a landing spot for many of the world’s superrich?