According to the Passport Index, that honor now belongs solely to Singapore thanks to a recent decision by Paraguay to remove visa requirements for passport holders of the Asian city-state.
Developed by international residence and citizenship advisory firm Arton Capital, the Passport Index is a free online interactive tool that sorts and ranks the world’s passports by their cross-border access.
It says holders of a Singaporean passport can now easily visit 159 countries, either visa-free or by gaining a visa on arrival.
Prior to Paraguay’s decision to remove visa restrictions, Singapore shared the number one spot on the Index with Germany, which has a passport score of 158.
For the first time ever an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world, said Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office.
“Singapore has constantly increased its passport strength since it became independent in 1965,” May explained.
“This due to a smart and far-sighted foreign policy, excellent diplomacy and by understanding globalization as an opportunity. Unlike Schengen member countries [in Europe], Singapore decides alone who to grant visa-free access.
“Singapore is not locked into a common travel zone (eg. with other ASEAN countries), and never had to impose visa restrictions on foreign nationals only because other ASEAN member countries have restrictions.”
Other Asian passports in the top 20 include those of South Korea, Japan and Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the US passport has fallen in favor since President Donald Trump took office, the Passport Index statement said, noting that Turkey and the Central African Republic were the most recent countries to revoke visa-free status to US passport holders.