Japanese Passport Tops 2018 Visa-Free Travel Index

Japan has the strongest passport in the world according to new Henley & Partners ranking

The law firm says it updates the index in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect.

South Africa's passport has weakened drastically over the past decade, falling 17 places down the global ranking since 2008.

The Henley Passport Index, according to its website, is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.

The Henley Pssport Index said Japan's passport is the most powerful in the world with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations.

Singapore featured at No.2 with 189 visa waivers, while Germany lost the top spot to end up at No.3 together with France and South Korea at 188 visa waivers.

Passports can enable global travel but visas are required to visit numerous countries, which can be both expensive and hard to gain.

Both countries benefited from a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan helping them beat France and Germany.

Ireland, in comparison, places joint sixth on the list with access to 185 destinations.

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In this year's ranking, both United Kingdom and USA have slipped the charts with 186 destinations.

However, Asian governments have signed up to 40 visa waivers in 2018, dramatically increasing visa-free travel for Asian countries.

Strengthening its position as the passport-power champion of the Middle East, the UAE signed a visa-waiver with Russian Federation in July, which is due to come into effect in the coming months. Japan ranked fifth in last year's survey with visa-free access to 172 nations.

Countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs in place all fall within the top 50 of the Henley Passport Index and are continually rising up the ranking. UAE citizens have access to 161 destinations.

"As the world economy has become increasingly globalised, the need for greater visa-free access has grown steadily", said the Henley Passport Index report.

"Across the economic spectrum, individuals want to transcend the constraints imposed on them by their country of origin and access business, financial, career, and lifestyle opportunities on a global scale".

Japan, according to the 2018 Henley Passport Index, is the world's "strongest" passport, meaning Japanese passport holders enjoy the most visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to the most destinations at 190.

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