The most powerful passport in the world is not the US, nor is it China, Russia or any of the other big European powers – it's Singapore.
“For the first time ever, an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world. It is a testament to Singapore’s inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy,” Managing Director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office, Philippe May shared in a press release.
The Passport Index is developed by Arton Capital which is a leading global advisory firm for residence and citizenship solutions. The index ranks passports worldwide for the cross-border access they grant to holders by assigning a “visa-free score”. The score denotes the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival.
According to the index, the island nation climbed to the top spot after Paraguay removed visa restrictions for Singapore passport holders. Currently, those bearing the most powerful passport would be able to travel either visa-free or obtain visa on arrival to 159 countries the world over.
“This is definitely welcome news,” said Singaporean citizen, Tiffany Ang. “Personally, I travel a lot within the Asia Pacific region and generally have no visa worries. However, it’s nice to know we have one more country to travel to visa-free.”
“It’s time to buy a ticket to Paraguay now!” she quipped.
Ranking of the passport strength of ASEAN member states.
The only other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member state to be ranked in the top 10 is Malaysia at sixth place. It shares that position with the US, Canada and Ireland.
The lowest ranked ASEAN member state is Myanmar, ranked 84 worldwide with a visa-free score of 41. That rank is also shared by Kosovo.
The pole position was previously shared by Singapore and Germany with a visa-score of 158. Singapore quietly climbed up the ranks and most notably, the US fell in its rank after Donald Trump took office – Turkey and the Central African Republic most recently revoked their visa-free status to US passport holders.
Passengers gather at Changi International Airport terminal 3 after being evacuated from terminal 2 due to a fire, in Singapore on May 16, 2017. (AFP Photo/Toh Ting Wei)
Speaking at the recently-held Global Citizen Forum in Montenegro, Founder and President of Arton Capital, Armand Arton noted that the visa-free global mobility is fast becoming an important aspect in the modern world today.
Arton Capital is one of many companies offering citizenship by investment programmes to interested individuals who can choose to invest in a particular country and obtain citizenship, residency or passport bearing rights to that nation.
“More and more people every year invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a second passport to offer better opportunity and security for their families,” he added.