How powerful is Indian passport? Check 2018 Henley Passport Index ranking here

How powerful is Indian passport? Check 2018 Henley Passport Index ranking here

"Henley & Partners receive exclusive data from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA), which forms the basis of the Henley Passport Index".

Singapore had been the top dog, but thanks to a new arrangement with Myanmar, Japan now leads with 190 visa-free countries.

Germany now shares 3rd place with South Korea and France.

At the other end of the scale are Afghanistan and Iraq, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to just 30 jurisdictions.

The ranking determines how many countries the holder can enter either without a visa or be issued one upon entry.

With neither having gained entry to any new jurisdictions this year, it seems unlikely that either will soon reclaim the No.1 spot they held in 2015.

Russia received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver for Russian nationals (valid until July 2019), but the country has nonetheless fallen from 46th to 47th place compared to Q3, because of movements higher up in the ranking.

Seychelles residents can now travel to 152 destinations without a visa, and Mauritius residents to 146, both up a single destination since the last quarterly update to the rankings.

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China also climbed by 14 positions to 71, with access to 74 destinations since 2017.

What has been most remarkable in recent years is the UAE's stunning ascent on the Henley Passport Index, from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place worldwide now.

The two had been neck-and-neck since they both climbed to first place in February, said the release.

Strengthening its position as the passport-power champion of the Middle East, the UAE signed a visa-waiver with Russian Federation in July, which is due to come into effect in the coming months.

Thailand ranked 68th, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 77 countries.

Henley highlighted at least two countries that didn't rank high but saw tremendous leaps in rankings through the years - China and the UAE.

"Along with the Henley & Partners - Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index, the Henley Passport Index is considered the most credible reference tool within the investment migration industry", it said. Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI programme in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008.

As a result, while SA is ranked at 52, there are actually 95 countries with stronger-rated passports on the index.

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