Power of SA passport drops in global ranking

10 October 2018 - 10:22 By AFP Relaxnews
Republic of South Africa's passport.
Republic of South Africa's passport.

There's a new leader on the international passport index. Thanks to gaining visa-free access to Myanmar this month, Japan has toppled Singapore to claim the top spot for holding the world's most powerful passport. 

In the latest reshuffling of the Henley Passport Index, which is updated in real-time, Japan pushed Singapore down to second spot, and Germany to third. 

Japan now has visa-free access to 190 countries, versus 189 for Singapore. 

Germany shares third spot with South Korea and France, which all have visa-free access to 188 countries. 

France was able to climb to third spot after gaining visa-free access to Uzbekistan last week. 

Overall, the United Arab Emirates has made the biggest progress on the index, leaping from 62nd place in 2006, to 21st spot today. 

The South Africa passport continued its downward slide on the global ranking, falling another two places since May 2018. It currently ranks at number 52.

The good news, however, is that the number of countries South Africans can visit without a visa remains the same: 102. (This includes countries where no visa is needed and those where a visa can be obtained on arrival.)

When compared to other African nations, the South African passport is the third most powerful on the continent. The Seychelles takes pole position with passport holders having visa-free access to 152 destinations. While Mauritius comes in second place with visa-free access to 146 countries.

Top 10 most powerful passports in the world:

  1. Japan - visa-free access to 190 countries
  2. Singapore - visa-free access to 189 countries
  3. Germany, South Korea, France - visa-free access to 188 countries
  4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain - visa-free access to 187 countries
  5. Norway United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, USA - visa-free access to 186 countries
  6. Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada - visa-free access to 185 countries
  7. Australia, Greece, Malta - visa-free access to 183 countries
  8. New Zealand, Czech Republic - visa-free access to 182 countries
  9. Iceland - visa-free access to 181 countries
  10. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia - visa-free access to 180 countries

Top five most powerful passports in Africa:

  1. Seychelles - visa-free access to 152 destinations
  2. Mauritius - visa-free access to 146 destinations
  3. South Africa - visa-free access to 102 destinations
  4. Botswana - visa-free access to 82 destinations
  5. Namibia - visa-free access to 76 destinations

Additional reporting staff reporter.