Not all passports are created equally. When it comes to their utility as a travel document, some are much better than others. This page looks at the best of the best to identify the world’s strongest passports.
There are a limited number of ways to judge the power or strength of a passport as a travel document. The most obvious method is to compare the number countries a holder can visit with it visa free.
Similar information is published each year by Henley and Partners and the International Air Transport Association (here is the 2016 report).
There are obviously some other potential considerations, such as the perceived neutrality of the country, therefore, who does the rest of the world think of as being friendly, but this is a softer and harder to define quality.
It will come as no surprise that countries that negotiate as a group and have a lot to offer will get the best deals. This means that the world’s strongest passports and top 10 are all European Union member states.
In their various forms, there are 219 recognised countries in the world, which obviously means that a passport ranking can have a maximum of 218 visa free arrangements.
The Top 10 Strongest Passport Ranking
1. Germany (the best passport in the world!)
3. United Kingdom
(also tied at number 8 is the United States).
We can therefore presume that the absolute best passport in the world is a German diplomatic passport 😉
What Is The Best Country For Citizenship?
Visa free travel isn’t everything…
Below is a list from mid 2016 of the countries with the highest quality of life. This would seem to be important if you actually have to choose somewhere new to live.
4. New Zealand
10. United States
There is clearly some overlap between the two lists, suggesting that we all ought to be interested in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
And what are the best cities to live in?
According to this list, also from 2016, we should be moving to any of:
1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Geneva, Switzerland
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Sydney, Australia
If these lists are anything to go by, anyone interested in a new passport should be learning German and planning to move to central Europe.
What Is The Worst Passport In The World?
This might not take much guessing, but the bottom five on the list are:
Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Needless to say, these are travel documents from countries with a great deal of conflict and internal strife. Few countries will provide visa free travel to their citizens. For some perspective, think about how bad the travel situation needs to be for a North Korean passport to be considered better! This article highlights some of the problems holders of African passports face in Europe.
In addition to these, probably the absolute worst passport to have would either be a fake or a stolen document. Either of those could cause significant problems for the bearer, if caught.