Australia scrapes into the top 10 of world’s most powerful passports

Australia scrapes into the top 10 of world’s most powerful passports – as Japan stays at number one and countries which have poorly handled the virus crisis slide down the list

  • Australia’s passport is one of the most powerful in the world after COVID-19
  • The nation scraped into the top 10 for the Henley Passport Index in 2020
  •  Usually powerful passports like the United States are currently weaker
  • Index predicts nation’s handling of COVID-19 will determine future rankings 

Pictured: Flight attendant time for work

The Australian passport remains one of the most powerful in the world – as poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis sees the authority of others decline.

Australia scraped into the top 10 for the Henley Passport Index, which ranks the ‘travel-friendliness’ of a country’s passport.

The assessment of a nation’s passport power is based on the number of countries a holder can travel to without needing a visa, or with having the ability to obtain a visa, on arrival.

Australian passport holders can travel to 183 countries effortlessly, putting it in ninth place for the rankings, behind New Zealand.

The top ranking country is still Japan, which has use of 191 countries. Singapore is in 2nd place while South Korea and Germany round out the top three.

But when it comes to current travel restrictions and bans in position for certain countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, some countries are faring far worse than their rankings suggest.

For example, United States currently sits in seventh place, tied with Norway, Belgium, Switzerland and United Kingdom with 195 accessible countries.

Australia's passport is one of the most powerful in the world after poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis saw some countries' rankings plunge

Australia’s passport is one of the most powerful in the world after poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis saw some countries’ rankings plunge

But given the nation’s handling of the pandemic, its residents are currently perhaps not welcome to journey to many of the nations on that list.

When taking into account its current status and which countries Americans are allowed to visit, the United States actually sits in about 25th spot, on par with Uruguay.

Mexico also normally sits in 25th position.

Australia and New Zealand were both listed on the European Union’s ‘safe travel’ bubble for the remainder of the pandemic, though Australian officials are still advising against any form of international travel.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, the chairman and creator of the passport index, said the EU’s travel restrictions were critical going forward.

The top ranking country is still Japan (pictured), which has access to 191 countries

The top ranking country remains Japan (pictured), which has use of 191 countries

Passengers arrive from a Qantas flight that flew from Melbourne at Sydney Airport. Australia has handled the COVID-19 crisis well in comparison to some other countries which are still struggling with thousands of deaths

Passengers arrive from a Qantas flight that flew from Melbourne at Sydney Airport. Australia has handled the COVID-19 crisis well compared to some other countries which continue to be struggling with thousands of deaths

‘The pandemic’s effect on travel freedom has been more drastic and resilient than initially anticipated,’ he said.

‘This latest decision by the EU indicates that there is more upheaval ahead. Look at the US passport, for instance — in 2014, it held the number one spot in the world on our index’.

‘But US nationals currently have much less travel freedom than most citizens of other wealthy, industrialised nations and even of some less developed nations, being efficiently locked out of Europe.’

Dr Kaeline expects a ‘new global hierarchy’ will emerge following the pandemic, and international mobility going forward depends on how well nations handled the pandemic. 9. 

International travel will be out of the equation for the foreseeable future but interstate travel is starting up again

International travel will undoubtedly be out of the equation for the foreseeable future but interstate travel is establishing again

Passport Power Rankings

Most powerful passports (not accounting for current travel restrictions) 

1. Japan – 191

2. Singapore – 190

3. Germany, South Korea – 189

4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain – 188

5. Austria, Denmark – 187

6. France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden – 186

7. Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States – 185

8. Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, New Zealand – 184

9. Australia, Canada – 183

10. Hungary – 182

 Least powerful passports (not accounting for current travel restrictions)

99. South Sudan – 43

100. Congo (Dem. Rep.), Eritrea, Sri Lanka – 42

101. Bangladesh, Iran – 41

102. Kosovo, Lebanon, Sudan – 40

103. North Korea – 39

104. Libya, Nepal Palestinian Territory – 38

105. Somalia, Yemen – 33

106. Pakistan – 32

107. Syria – 29

108. Iraq – 28

109. Afghanistan – 26 

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