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Ranked: The World’s Most and Least Powerful Passports in 2023

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Ranked: The World’s Most and Least Powerful Passports

Depending on your passport, travel can be as simple as just booking flights, finding a hotel, and, then simply going.

But for many across the world, it’s not that easy—a number of passport holders need to obtain a travel/tourist visa prior to arrival. These visas typically require approval from the destination country’s government that can take weeks or months.

Japanese passport holders, for example, are able to visit 193 countries without pre-approval (nearly every country on Earth). Afghans, on the other hand, can only visit 27 countries with the same level of ease.

This ranking uses data from Henley & Partners, which determines the number of countries to which a passport holder has visa-free access.

The World’s Passports

First let’s look at every country’s position in the ranking in the table below:

RankPassportNumber of Countries Allowing Visa-Free Access
#1🇯🇵 Japan193
#1🇸🇬 Singapore193
#3🇰🇷 South Korea192
#4🇩🇪 Germany191
#4🇪🇸 Spain191
#6🇫🇮 Finland190
#6🇮🇹 Italy190
#6🇱🇺 Luxembourg190
#9🇦🇹 Austria189
#9🇩🇰 Denmark189
#9🇳🇱 Netherlands189
#9🇸🇪 Sweden189
#13🇫🇷 France188
#13🇮🇪 Ireland188
#13🇵🇹 Portugal188
#13🇬🇧 United Kingdom188
#17🇧🇪 Belgium187
#17🇨🇿 Czechia187
#17🇳🇿 New Zealand187
#17🇳🇴 Norway187
#17🇨🇭 Switzerland187
#17🇺🇸 United States187
#23🇦🇺 Australia186
#23🇨🇦 Canada186
#23🇬🇷 Greece186
#23🇲🇹 Malta186
#27🇭🇺 Hungary185
#27🇵🇱 Poland185
#29🇱🇹 Lithuania184
#29🇸🇰 Slovakia184
#31🇱🇻 Latvia183
#31🇸🇮 Slovenia183
#33🇪🇪 Estonia182
#34🇮🇸 Iceland181
#35🇲🇾 Malaysia180
#36🇱🇮 Liechtenstein179
#37🇨🇾 Cyprus178
#37🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates178
#39🇷🇴 Romania176
#40🇧🇬 Bulgaria175
#40🇨🇱 Chile175
#40🇭🇷 Croatia175
#40🇲🇨 Monaco175
#44🇭🇰 Hong Kong (SAR China)172
#45🇦🇷 Argentina171
#46🇧🇷 Brazil170
#46🇸🇲 San Marino170
#48🇦🇩 Andorra169
#49🇧🇳 Brunei167
#50🇧🇧 Barbados162
#51🇮🇱 Israel160
#51🇲🇽 Mexico160
#53🇰🇳 St. Kitts and Nevis156
#54🇧🇸 Bahamas155
#55🇻🇦 Vatican City154
#56🇸🇨 Seychelles153
#56🇺🇾 Uruguay153
#58🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines151
#59🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda150
#59🇨🇷 Costa Rica150
#59🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago150
#62🇲🇺 Mauritius146
#63🇱🇨 St. Lucia146
#63🇹🇼 Taiwan 146
#65🇬🇩 Grenada145
#66🇩🇲 Dominica144
#66🇲🇴 Macao (SAR China)144
#66🇺🇦 Ukraine144
#69🇵🇦 Panama143
#70🇵🇾 Paraguay141
#71🇷🇸 Serbia137
#72🇵🇪 Peru136
#73🇨🇴 Colombia133
#73🇬🇹 Guatemala133
#73🇭🇳 Honduras133
#76🇸🇻 El Salvador132
#77🇼🇸 Samoa131
#77🇸🇧 Solomon Islands131
#79🇹🇴 Tonga129
#80🇻🇪 Venezuela128
#81🇳🇮 Nicaragua127
#81🇹🇻 Tuvalu127
#83🇲🇰 North Macedonia125
#84🇲🇪 Montenegro124
#85🇰🇮 Kiribati123
#86🇲🇭 Marshall Islands122
#87🇲🇩 Moldova120
#88🇵🇼 Palau Islands119
#89🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina118
#89🇫🇲 Micronesia118
#89🇷🇺 Russia118
#92🇦🇱 Albania115
#92🇬🇪 Georgia115
#94🇹🇷 Türkiye111
#95🇿🇦 South Africa106
#96🇧🇿 Belize102
#97🇶🇦 Qatar100
#98🇰🇼 Kuwait97
#98🇻🇺 Vanuatu97
#100🇹🇱 Timor-Leste94
#101🇪🇨 Ecuador92
#102🇲🇻 Maldives89
#102🇳🇷 Nauru89
#104🇧🇭 Bahrain87
#104🇫🇯 Fiji87
#104🇬🇾 Guyana87
#107🇧🇼 Botswana86
#107🇯🇲 Jamaica86
#109🇴🇲 Oman82
#109🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea82
#109🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia82
#112🇨🇳 China81
#113🇧🇾 Belarus79
#113🇧🇴 Bolivia79
#113🇹🇭 Thailand79
#116🇳🇦 Namibia78
#117🇱🇸 Lesotho77
#117🇸🇷 Suriname77
#119🇰🇿 Kazakhstan75
#120🇸🇿 Eswatini74
#121🇲🇼 Malawi73
#122🇮🇩 Indonesia72
#122🇰🇪 Kenya72
#124🇹🇿 Tanzania71
#124🇹🇳 Tunisia71
#126🇩🇴 Dominican Republic70
#126🇿🇲 Zambia70
#128🇦🇿 Azerbaijan69
#129🇬🇲 The Gambia68
#130🇵🇭 Philippines67
#131🇺🇬 Uganda66
#132🇦🇲 Armenia65
#132🇨🇻 Cape Verde Islands65
#132🇲🇦 Morocco65
#132🇿🇼 Zimbabwe65
#136🇨🇺 Cuba64
#136🇬🇭 Ghana64
#136🇸🇱 Sierra Leone64
#139🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan63
#140🇲🇳 Mongolia61
#140🇲🇿 Mozambique61
#142🇧🇯 Benin60
#142🇮🇳 India60
#142🇷🇼 Rwanda60
#145🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe59
#145🇹🇯 Tajikistan59
#145🇺🇿 Uzbekistan59
#148🇲🇷 Mauritania58
#149🇧🇫 Burkina Faso57
#150🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire56
#150🇬🇦 Gabon56
#150🇸🇳 Senegal56
#153🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea55
#153🇬🇳 Guinea55
#153🇻🇳 Vietnam55
#156🇰🇭 Cambodia54
#156🇲🇬 Madagascar54
#156🇹🇬 Togo54
#159🇪🇬 Egypt53
#159🇯🇴 Jordan53
#159🇲🇱 Mali53
#159🇳🇪 Niger53
#163🇩🇿 Algeria52
#163🇧🇹 Bhutan52
#163🇨🇫 Central African Republic52
#163🇹🇩 Chad52
#163🇰🇲 Comoros52
#163🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau52
#163🇹🇲 Turkmenistan52
#170🇨🇲 Cameroon51
#171🇦🇴 Angola50
#171🇱🇦 Laos50
#173🇧🇮 Burundi49
#173🇨🇬 Congo (Rep.)49
#173🇱🇷 Liberia49
#176🇩🇯 Djibouti48
#176🇭🇹 Haiti48
#178🇲🇲 Myanmar47
#179🇪🇹 Ethiopia46
#179🇳🇬 Nigeria46
#181🇪🇷 Eritrea44
#181🇮🇷 Iran44
#181🇸🇸 South Sudan44
#184🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo 42
#184🇸🇩 Sudan42
#186🇽🇰 Kosovo41
#186🇱🇧 Lebanon41
#186🇱🇰 Sri Lanka41
#189🇧🇩 Bangladesh40
#189🇱🇾 Libya40
#189🇰🇵 North Korea40
#192🇵🇸 Palestine38
#193🇳🇵 Nepal37
#194🇸🇴 Somalia35
#195🇾🇪 Yemen34
#196🇵🇰 Pakistan32
#197🇸🇾 Syria30
#198🇮🇶 Iraq29
#199Afghanistan27

Visas are imposed by some countries to make it easier to track visitors, allowing a country to assess whether said passport-holder may be a risk for illegal immigration, crime, acts of terror, or covert surveillance.

For example, both Russia and China require American passport holders to obtain visas prior to travel, and vice versa.

The Most Powerful Passports

When it comes to the most powerful passports, most of the top 20 are issued by countries in Asia or Europe, with the exception of New Zealand and the United States.

Due to multiple ties in the rankings the U.S. technically ranks 17th, having visa-free access to 187 countries, on par with Norway, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

Ranking 66th, Ukraine’s passport has actually seen drastic improvement over the last decade, currently getting visa-free access to 144 countries. It has yet to be seen how this will change in the wake of the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

The Least Powerful Passports

Many of least powerful passports come out of war-torn and politically unstable nations. As visas for travel are typically required to counter illicit activity, these nations are often flagged whether justly or not.

One immediate standout among the least powerful passports is North Korea. The insular nation has visa-free access to 40 countries, ranking it above eight other passports on the list.

Most North Koreans who travel abroad do so only in extremely special circumstances for work, study, or athletic competitions. Leisure travel out of North Korea does not happen, but technically, North Koreans can visit countries like Haiti, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Palestine, and Kyrgyzstan, among others without a visa.

The Biggest Gainers & Losers Over Time

From a big picture standpoint, the world’s travelers have seen their access improve significantly over the last 10 years. If you’re a citizen of the UAE, for example, your prospects for visa-free travel have improved by 100+ countries over the last decade.

most and least powerful passports

Here’s a closer look at 15 countries with the greatest change in visa-free access:

RankCountry2013 Visa-Free Access2023 Visa-Free Access10 Year Change
#1🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates72178+106
#2🇨🇴 Colombia63133+70
#3🇺🇦 Ukraine77144+67
#4🇲🇩 Moldova59120+61
#5🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines92151+59
#6🇩🇲 Dominica87144+57
#6🇬🇩 Grenada88145+57
#8🇵🇪 Peru80136+56
#9🇬🇪 Georgia60115+55
#10🇱🇨 St. Lucia94146+52
#11🇼🇸 Samoa81131+50
#11🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago100150+50
#13🇹🇴 Tonga80129+49
#14🇸🇧 Solomon Islands84131+47
#15🇭🇷 Croatia129175+46

On the other hand, other countries have fared poorly, with some actually losing access to destinations since 2013. Yemen and Syria are tied for first place, having lost visa-free access to nine countries over the last 10 years.

Here’s a look at 15 countries who experienced the biggest negative change:

RankCountry2013 Visa-Free Access2023 Visa-Free Access10 Year Change
#1🇾🇪 Yemen4334-9
#1🇸🇾 Syria3930-9
#3🇳🇬 Nigeria4846-2
#3🇮🇶 Iraq3129-2
#5🇰🇵 North Korea4140-1
#5🇧🇩 Bangladesh4140-1
#5🇦🇫 Afghanistan2827-1
#8🇻🇪 Venezuela1281280
#8🇬🇲 The Gambia68680
#8🇵🇰 Pakistan32320
#8🇳🇪 Niger53530
#8🇳🇵 Nepal37370
#8🇲🇱 Mali53530
#14🇹🇬 Togo5354+1
#14🇸🇱 Sierra Leone6364+1

Looking at the tables above, it’s apparent that the world has generally become more open in recent years.

Overall, the power of a passport is almost directly reflective of the political state of the world. World powers and rich nations typically have free flow of travel, but those facing instability or war are often also face barriers when wanting to go abroad.

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Maps

Charted: Contributions to UN Peacekeeping Forces by Country

In 2023, the UN Peacekeeping Forces, under the purview of the Security Council, comprised of more than 60,000 personnel from 118 countries.

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A cropped chart showing the funding and personnel contributors to UN Peacekeeping forces, and location of current missions.

Charted: Contributions to UN Peacekeeping Forces by Country

An earlier version of this graphic was posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

With their sky blue helmets, berets, and badges, the UN Peacekeeping forces are meant to be a symbol of international cooperation in conflict zones around the world.

They’re composed entirely from voluntary contributions from UN Member States—and include police and civilian roles along with military personnel.

The visualization by creator Preyash Shah serves as a primer on the UN Peacekeeping forces. It shows which countries are the biggest personnel contributors, which of them are top funders, and also lists the current ongoing peacekeeping operations. Data for this chart comes from the UN Peacekeeping archives.

Countries by Troop Contributions to UN Peacekeeping (2023)

From South Asia, a trio of countries—Nepal, Bangladesh, and India—are each contributing more than 6,000 personnel to the UN peacekeepers.

A majority of these representatives are soldiers, heavily involved in the four active peacekeeping missions in Africa.

RankCountryPersonnel
1🇳🇵 Nepal6,247
2🇧🇩 Bangladesh6,197
3🇮🇳 India6,073
4🇷🇼 Rwanda5,919
5🇵🇰 Pakistan4,164
6🇮🇩 Indonesia2,717
7🇬🇭 Ghana2,664
8🇨🇳 China2,267
9🇪🇬 Egypt1,739
10🇲🇦 Morocco1,715
11🇹🇿 Tanzania1,544
12🇪🇹 Ethiopia1,509
13🇸🇳 Senegal1,194
14🇿🇦 South Africa1,133
15🇨🇲 Cameroon1,103
16🇺🇾 Uruguay1,016
17🇿🇲 Zambia996
18🇹🇳 Tunisia988
19🇲🇳 Mongolia898
20🇮🇹 Italy872
21🇲🇾 Malaysia865
22🇲🇼 Malawi802
23🇲🇷 Mauritania787
24🇧🇮 Burundi769
25🇰🇭 Cambodia734
26🇪🇸 Spain688
27🇺🇬 Uganda654
28🇫🇷 France587
29🇱🇰 Sri Lanka561
30🇰🇷 South Korea545
31🇮🇪 Ireland458
32🇰🇪 Kenya456
33🇳🇬 Nigeria421
34🇹🇬 Togo408
35🇩🇪 Germany383
36🇯🇴 Jordan357
37🇫🇯 Fiji339
38🇧🇯 Benin319
39🇦🇷 Argentina292
40🇹🇭 Thailand289
41🇬🇧 UK280
42🇻🇳 Viet Nam274
43🇷🇸 Serbia271
44🇵🇪 Peru262
45🇸🇰 Slovakia244
46🇵🇹 Portugal239
47🇩🇯 Djibouti226
48🇧🇹 Bhutan219
49🇬🇹 Guatemala218
50🇫🇮 Finland204
51🇵🇱 Poland202
52🇨🇬 Congo189
53🇸🇻 El Salvador187
54🇦🇹 Austria177
55🇱🇷 Liberia161
56🇧🇫 Burkina Faso156
57🇹🇷 Turkiye154
58🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire132
59🇬🇷 Greece103
60🇳🇪 Niger88
61🇷🇺 Russia88
62🇬🇲 Gambia81
63🇧🇷 Brazil79
64🇬🇳 Guinea74
65🇵🇾 Paraguay59
66🇳🇴 Norway51
67🇷🇴 Romania49
68🇿🇼 Zimbabwe49
69🇨🇦 Canada47
70🇭🇺 Hungary38
71🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina34
72🇦🇲 Armenia33
73🇧🇳 Brunei Darussalam29
74🇸🇪 Sweden29
75🇲🇱 Mali28
76🇧🇴 Bolivia27
77🇺🇸 U.S.27
78🇦🇺 Australia26
79🇸🇱 Sierra Leone26
80🇵🇭 Philippines21
81🇨🇭 Switzerland19
82🇨🇿 Czech Republic18
83🇰🇿 Kazakhstan18
84🇲🇽 Mexico18
85🇭🇳 Honduras17
86🇨🇱 Chile15
87🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan15
88🇹🇩 Chad14
89🇭🇷 Croatia13
90🇳🇱 Netherlands13
91🇪🇨 Ecuador11
92🇩🇴 Dominican Republic10
93🇳🇦 Namibia10
94🇲🇩 Moldova10
95🇲🇹 Malta9
96🇩🇰 Denmark8
97🇳🇿 New Zealand8
98🇸🇮 Slovenia7
99🇪🇪 Estonia6
100🇲🇪 Montenegro6
101🇨🇴 Colombia5
102🇲🇬 Madagascar5
103🇦🇱 Albania4
104🇯🇵 Japan4
105🇱🇻 Latvia4
106🇧🇪 Belgium3
107🇩🇿 Algeria2
108🇦🇴 Angola2
109🇦🇿 Azerbaijan2
110🇧🇼 Botswana2
111🇨🇾 Cyprus2
112🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea2
113🇹🇱 Timor-Leste2
114🇱🇹 Lithuania1
115🇲🇰 North Macedonia1
116🇶🇦 Qatar1
117🇸🇹 Sao Tome & Principe1
118🇹🇯 Tajikistan1
N/A🌐 World66,839

Source: Troop & Police Contributors, United Nations Peacekeeping.

However, these three countries—and the others in the top 15—are outliers when looking at overall troop contributions.

Of the 118 countries currently volunteering forces to the UN, 103 of them have fewer than 1,000 UN Peacekeepers.

The U.S. for example currently has only 27 personnel in the peacekeepers, as of November 2023. Of them, 21 are staff officers, four are “experts on mission,” and two are police; none are troops.

Other countries that have zero “boots on the ground” include: Canada, Japan, and Australia.

Countries by Financial Contributions to UN Peacekeeping (2021)

While all UN member states are mandated to contribute to the peacekeeping budget, the share of financial contributions is similarly unevenly distributed.

Most of the world’s largest economies are also the top funders to the UN peacekeeping forces.

For the financial year 2020–2021, the U.S. contributed nearly $2 billion to the UN peacekeepers, followed by China ($1 billion), Japan ($563 million), Germany ($401 million) and the UK ($381 million).

RankCountryRegionContributionEstimated Value
(USD Millions)
1🇺🇸 U.S.North America27.89%$1,835
2🇨🇳 ChinaAsia15.21%$1,000
3🇯🇵 JapanAsia8.56%$563
4🇩🇪 GermanyEurope6.09%$401
5🇬🇧 UKEurope5.79%$381
6🇫🇷 FranceEurope5.61%$369
7🇮🇹 ItalyEurope3.30%$217
8🇷🇺 RussiaAsia3.04%$200
9🇨🇦 CanadaNorth America2.73%$180
10🇰🇷 South KoreaAsia2.26%$149
N/A🌐 RoWN/A19.52%$1,284
N/ATotalN/A100%$6,579

Source: How We are Funded, United Nations Peacekeeping.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council carry a greater financial responsibility to the peacekeeping budget, in accordance with their security council privileges.

Ranked: Current UN Peacekeeping Missions by Personnel (2023)

As of November, 2023, there are 11 active UN peacekeeping missions in operation. There have been more than 60 peacekeeping operations since 1948; the first one was established in Palestine to oversee the truce between Arab and Jewish communities.

RankLocationEstablishedUNPK Personnel
1🇨🇫 Central African Republic201418,448
2🇸🇸 South Sudan201118,412
3🇨🇩 DRC201017,971
4🇱🇧 Lebanon197810,385
5🇸🇩 Sudan &
🇸🇸 South Sudan
20113,388
6🇸🇾 Syria19741,331
7🇨🇾 Cyprus19641,017
8🇪🇭 Western Sahara1991468
9🇮🇱 Israel &
🇵🇸 Palestine
1948375
10🇽🇰 Kosovo1999353
11🇮🇳 India &
🇵🇰 Pakistan
1949104

Source: Where We Operate, United Nations Peacekeeping.

A key tenant of the missions is to protect civilians and human rights, and several of them have failed in this regard, including the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the decade of Balkan civil wars.

And peacekeepers themselves have also garnered less than stellar reputations, after perpetrating sexual abuse in the Central African Republic and Congo, and causing a cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010.

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