UK passport drops to its lowest rank since The Henley Passport Index began

23rd February 2020 / United Kingdom
UK passport drops to its lowest rank since The Henley Passport Index began

The power of the UK passport has dropped to its lowest position in world rankings since The Henley Passport Index began in 2006.

Coming in at a joint eighth place, alongside the US, Belgium, Greece and Norway, the UK passport was previously ranked as the world’s most powerful in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015. But it began to slide post-Brexit, to third in 2016, fourth in 2017, fifth in 2018 and sixth in 2019.

Japan was listed as the world’s most powerful passport with visa-free access to 191 countries – comparatively the UK passport can access 184 countries visa-free.

Singapore, who was last year ranked as the most powerful passport, dropped to second place this year with visa-free access to 190 destinations. Germany and South Korea shared a joint third placing with access to 189 countries visa-free and Finland and Italy’s passports came in fourth. At the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan’s passport was listed as the least powerful, with visa-free access to just 26 countries. Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen were also listed in the bottom five.

Since 2016 there has been a huge surge opting to apply for nationality in other EU countries, with some even forfeiting their British passport to retain their EU rights after Brexit. The surge of British born citizens applying for EU citizenship means that between 2016 and 2020, nearly 360,000 people born in the UK have applied to acquire an EU passport across nine of the countries that supplied data.

In the meantime, The UK will roll out new “iconic” blue passports for a post-Brexit Britain in March — but ironically they will be produced in Poland by a French-Dutch company. The words “European Union” were already removed from new British passports in 2019, ahead of the Brexit process being completed.


The world’s most powerful passports

According to The Henley Passport Index

1. Japan – access to 191 countries visa-free

2. Singapore – 190

3. Germany and South Korea – 189

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4. Finland and Italy – 188

5. Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain – 187

6. France and Sweden – 186

7. Austria, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland – 185

8. Belgium, Greece, Norway, UK and US – 184

9. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Malta and New Zealand – 183

10. Hungary, Lithuania and Slovakia – 181

11. Iceland, Latvia and Slovenia – 180

12. Estonia – 179

13. Liechtenstein and Malaysia – 178

14. Poland – 176

15. Monaco – 175

16. Chile and Cyprus – 174

17. Romania – 172

18. Bulgaria and the UAE – 171

19. Argentina and Brazil – 170

20. Croatia and Hong Kong – 169




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