Vietnamese passport does better in global power ranking

By Nguyen Quy   October 3, 2019 | 12:22 am PT
Vietnamese passport does better in global power ranking
People holding a Vietnamese passport have free access to 51 countries and territories. Photo by Shutterstock/trananhuy.
The Vietnamese passport has moved up five places in the latest power ranking with visa free access to 51 destinations.

On the Henley Passport Index updated this month by the U.K.-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, the Vietnamese passport has jumped five places to 90th among 107 positions against the previous ranking released last July.

In Southeast Asia, a Vietnamese passport is only more powerful than Laos (92nd) and Myanmar (95th), which have visa free access to 49 and 46 destinations respectively.

The index ranks passports of 200 countries and territories in the world based on data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of travel information.

The region’s biggest economy, Indonesia, has risen two places to 73rd in this updated ranking with 70 visa-free destinations while Malaysia jumped one place to 12th with visa free access to 177 countries and territories.

Thailand has seen a jump in its global ranking to 66th, up four places. Thais can now travel to 77 countries and territories without applying for a visa, slightly higher than Filipinos (77th) and Cambodians (88th), who have similar access to 65 and 53 destinations respectively.

Singapore and Japan have the most powerful passports in the world, with their citizens able to visit 190 countries and territories without applying for a visa.

South Korea, Germany and Finland ranked second, with citizens having visa-free access to 188 destinations.

Three countries - Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg shared the third place, with their citizens able to visit 187 countries and territories without applying for a visa. France, Sweden and Spain came in fourth.

With the Donald Trump administration pursuing a hostile immigration policy, the U.S. has lost its throne as the most powerful passport in the world to share sixth position with Norway, Switzerland, the U.K., Canada, Belgium, Ireland and Greece.

The world’s weakest passports come from poor countries mired in conflict like Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Passport holders from these nations can only visit between 32 and 39 other countries without visas.

"Countries that have higher visa scores also rank higher in economic freedom, especially in investment, financial, and business freedom," Christian H. Kalin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, said in a statement.

He said the growing trend towards visa openness is unlikely to slow down. Overall, 2019 looks set to hold "some surprises in the travel freedom space as more countries and citizens embrace the benefits of global mobility," he said.

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