NZ now the most powerful passport in the world
In a year full of travel misery and COVID chaos, there is one ironic bright spot - the New Zealand passport is now the world’s most powerful, according to one visa index.
The little black book had held the title jointly with Japan, but the latest ranking shows NZ out on its own at the top.
The Passport Index is one of several indices which measure the amount of visa-free world travel. It looks at the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories.
It shows that New Zealand currently has visa-free access, or visa on entry, to 129 countries. That’s up from 80 during the height of the coronavirus lockdowns earlier in the year, but behind 2019’s total of 169.
Japan has slipped back to second with 128 alongside a host of other nations: Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea and Australia.
European countries make up the bulk of the top 10.
Propping up the list are the usual suspects Afghanistan and Iraq. Their citizens only have access to 31 countries visa-free.
Global Passport Power Rank 2020
• New Zealand 129
• Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea, Japan, Australia 128
• Sweden, Belgium, France, Finland, Italy, Spain 127
• Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Lithuania, Norway, Iceland, UK, Canada 126
• Malta, Slovenia, Latvia 125
• Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Liechtenstein 124
• Slovakia 123
• Cyprus, Croatia, Monaco 121
• Romania, Bulgaria 120
• San Marino, Andorra, Uruguay 115
Another regular index earlier in the year from Henley & Partners had the New Zealand passport in joint eighth (or joint 21st depending on how you want to read the figures).
The Henley Passport Index uses data from the International Air Transport Association for its measurements, covering 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.