Power to the Passports

Call me a geek, but I have to admit that I do find statistics interesting. Such nerdiness may stem from my job which entails considerable number crunching and researching facts.

Today’s statistical discovery for me was the Passport Index website which provides data on the “power” of passports from around the world. I am always interested to see how Germany compares to with my home and other countries in such things.

The “Individual Passport Power Rank 2018” makes interesting reading. Passports from around the globe are ranked based on how many other countries permit the holder entry (a) without a visa; (b) with a visa-on-arrival (“VOA”); or (c) with a full visa. Germany is number 2, second only to Singapore, with German citizens enjoying visa-free entry into 126 countries. 38 more are accessible with VOA, whilst full visas are only required in 33 countries.

In contrast, the USA is 13th, as their citizens only get visa-free access to 166 countries, with VOA required at 48 others. The UK is even lower in the ranks at number 20, with us Brits getting visa-free entry to only 120 countries and VOA at 43. It’s an interesting (some say worrying) prospect that future rankings will probably be impacted by Brexit depending on what deals get struck in the meantime. One thing that is certain, the UK is likely to slip further down the scale once it leaves the European Union.

Canada ranks at number 22, with Canadians getting visa-free entry into 114 countries, and VOA entry at a further 49 visa. For Australia, the rank is 29th / 110 / 51 respectively.

Surprisingly, Germany sits at only 47th place in the “Welcoming Countries Rank 2018”. This ranks countries based on the number of passports they welcome with no visa, with a VOA, or with an electronic visa waiver. That position is shared with most other EU countries, although the UK is a couple of rungs lower at number 49. Canada, the USA and Australia (on paper at least) do not appear so welcoming at 71st, 75th and 76th place respectively. That is probably due to their tougher immigration rules. No fewer than 21 countries jointly hold first place, none of which are in Europe. Even Uganda and Somalia are more welcoming (on paper at least)!

Looking at the above, it comes as no surprise why “western” passports are sought after by so many given they provide easy travel to so many countries. It also shows how western countries try to curb this phenomenon by restricting entry to holders of “lesser” passports.

Please take a look at the https://www.passportindex.org/byRank.php website as it does make for some interesting reading.

(Photo courtesy of Tom Grimbert on Unsplash)

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