Four new countries – but not Australia – at the top of passport rankings

Six countries hold the most powerful passport in the world, while Australia has once again failed to crack the top five.

AN UNPRECEDENTED six countries share the top spot on the 2024 Henley Passport Index – but unfortunately, none of them are Australia.

Last year’s second most powerful passport, Japan, has joined 2023’s most powerful, Singapore, atop the ranking, after a brief dip from its usual spot at the mountaintop.

The two Asian passports are joined by four European countries – Germany, France, Italy, and Spain – with the latter three making their debut atop the ranking.

Germany’s passport previously held the top spot between 2014 and 2017, while the other three European countries have previously been ranked as highly as #3.

Australia’s passport once again came in at #6, the same ranking it held last year, offering visa-free access to 189 destinations – just five less than the highest-ranked countries.

India, China, Brazil, and Vietnam are some of the biggest countries standing between Australia and the top-ranked passports on the Index.

Although the general trend over the history of the rankings has been toward greater travel freedom, the global mobility gap between those at the top and bottom of the Index is now wider than ever, according to Henley & Partners Chair Christian Kaelin.

“The average number of destinations travelers are able to access visa-free has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024,” he noted.

“However, as we enter the new year, the top-ranked countries are now able to travel to a staggering 166 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the ranking with access to just 28 countries without a visa.”

Other countries with a more powerful passport than Australia include South Korea, Finland, and Sweden (#2), Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands (#3), Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom (#4), and Greece, Malta, and Switzerland (#5).

The United Arab Emirates remains the biggest climber over the past decade, adding an impressive 106 destinations to its visa-free score since 2014, resulting in a massive leap of 54 places in the ranking from a low of 65th in 2011 to 11th in this year’s rankings.

The ranking is based on official date from the International Air Transport Association.

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