SINGAPORE: Japan has been replaced by Singapore in top spot on the rankings of countries with powerful passports, according to British consulting firm Henley & Partners.
Japan, which had occupied the No. 1 position for five straight years, fell to third place, said the latest quarterly report of the Henley Passport Index, released Tuesday.
The rankings, using official data from the International Air Transport Association, are based on how many destinations passport holders can travel to without a prior visa.
According to the report, holders of the Singaporean passport can visit 192 of the 227 countries and regions in the world without a prior visa. Germany, Italy and Spain shared second place, giving passport holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 190 countries and regions.
Travel to 189 countries and regions is exempt from prior visas for holders of passports from seven third-place countries, namely South Korea, Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg and Sweden in addition to Japan.
At the bottom of the rankings is Afghanistan, with just 27 destinations accessible without a prior visa.
Henley & Partners said that freedom of travel has generally expanded since the start of its survey 18 years ago. The average number of destinations that can be accessed visa-free or with visa on arrival has almost doubled to 109 this year from 58 in 2006.
The difference between top- and bottom-ranking countries has widened to a record level, with Singaporean passport holders having access to 165 more destinations without prior visas than those with passports from Afghanistan.