With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing countries to impose restrictions, some passports have become more powerful than others.


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced countries to impose restrictions on travelers, from outright banning them to merely telling them to self-isolate upon arrival to requiring them to receive vaccinations in their destinations. With many wanting to escape the pandemic situation in their own countries, travel has become something that is more appreciated than before. The situation has also made some passports more powerful than others.

According to global citizenship and residence advisory firm  Henley & Partners, the pandemic has created a gap in travel freedoms between the northern and southern hemispheres. According to the first report of the year made by the firm using the Henley Passport Index, most Europeans have the most powerful passport. The United States and the United Kingdom have also gained more power than in 2021. Meanwhile, the countries with the least travel freedoms are Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, with 26, 28 and 29 permitted destinations respectively. 

The index was made based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA), which is the largest, most accurate travel information database, accompanied by the firm's in-house research and open-source online data. It includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations and is updated quarterly. The countries with the most powerful passports in the first quarter of 2022 are ranked below, along with the number of visa-free destinations allowed.

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1. Japan, Singapore (192)
2. Germany, South Korea (190)
3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (189)
4. Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Sweden (188)
5. Ireland, Portugal (187)
6. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (186)
7. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185)
8. Poland, Hungary (183)
9. Lithuania, Slovakia (182)
10. Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia (181)
11. Iceland (180)
12. Malaysia (179)
13. Liechtenstein (178)
14. Cyprus (176)
15. United Arab Emirates (175)
16. Chile, Monaco, Romania (174)
17. Bulgaria, Croatia (173)
18. Hong Kong (SAR China) (171)
19. Argentina (170)
20. Brazil, San Marino (169)

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Indonesia, meanwhile, is ranked 72nd in 2022 with 71 visa-free destinations. The number is minuscule compared to top-ranked Japan and Singapore. Even Malaysia ranked 12th with 179 visa-free destinations. Indonesia is also below Thailand, which is 65th with 79 visa-free destinations, Timor Leste, which is 55th with 93, and Brunei, which is 22nd with 166. 

Indonesia, however, is still above the 89th ranked Vietnam with 54 visa-free destinations and the 90th ranked Cambodia with 53 visa-free destinations. Laos is 93rd with 50 permitted destinations, while the Philippines is 77th with 66.




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