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World's most powerful passport list influenced by the Ukraine crisis

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By Newsvot News - - 5 Mins Read

Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and residency advice organization, has released its quarterly study on the most wanted passports in the world.

According to the most recent statistics compiled on the world's most travel-friendly passports, the restriction of airspace due to Russian military action and the opening of borders to Ukrainian refugees has begun to exert influence on global travel freedoms.

While there has been little movement at the top of a list of countries with "powerful passports," or those with the most visa-free travel options around the world, the recent conflict is beginning to shake things up lower down the index compiled by London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners.

Many nations have changed their entry regulations or eliminated visa requirements for Ukrainian passport holders since the commencement of the crisis in late February, putting Ukraine at an all-time high on the index.

Meanwhile, the European Union, the United States, and Canada have all barred Russian airlines from flying in their airspace, and some destinations are no longer issuing visas to Russian citizens, "effectively condemning the Russian passport to junk status throughout much of the developed world," according to a report by Henley & Partners.

Although Russia's ranking on the list hasn't changed significantly as a result of this, the report implies that this will alter in the following months.

Since 2006, the firm's Henley Passport Index has been tracking the world's best travel-friendly passports using proprietary data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Ukraine has moved up one spot to 34th on the list for the second quarter of 2022, and its citizens can now travel to 143 countries without a visa (or visa-on-arrival).

With open travel to 117 countries, Russia has fallen four positions to 49th, a situation that is projected to worsen if visa bans and sanctions are enforced.

According to the report, the new upheaval plainly demonstrates "the war's significant and perhaps irreparable impact on freedom of movement."

The top of the ranking remained unchanged from the previous year, with Japan and Singapore sharing the top slot. In theory, holders of these passports can travel to 192 countries without a visa, although it's worth remembering that this does not account for temporary restrictions.

Afghan nationals are once again at the bottom of the index, with only 26 countries that do not require a visa in advance.

Europe becomes supreme once more

Further down the top 10, South Korea is still tied for second place with Germany with 190, and Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain are all tied for third place with 189.

With a score of 188, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden are tied for fourth position. France has dropped to fifth place.

With a score of 117, the UK has climbed up to fifth place, alongside France, Ireland, and Portugal, after removing all remaining Covid-19-related limitations last month.

With a score of 186, the United States is tied for sixth place with Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.

With a score of 185, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, and Malta remain at position seven.

Hungary is alone in eighth place with a score of 183, while Poland has slipped from eighth to ninth place with a score of 182, sharing the slot with Lithuania and Slovakia. With a score of 181, Estonia, Latvia, and Slovenia round out the top 10.

Fears of displacement due to climate change

According to the research, the Russia-Ukraine crisis has served as a stark reminder of the world's volatility, the ways in which violence and conflict may lead to mass displacement, and the importance of your passport in determining your status.

"It is plainly evident that the passport you carry decides your fate and profoundly affects the options you have," wrote Christian H. Kaelin, chair of Henley & Partners and developer of the passport index concept.

The findings also show that, in the next 25 years, the effects of climate change will be the main force for displacement, particularly in less economically developed countries.

Experts also predict a significant increase in international travel, which has been severely disrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Most powerful passports in the world for 2022:

1. Japan, Singapore (192 destinations)

2. Germany, South Korea (190)

3. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (189)

4. Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden (188)

5. France, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom (187)

6. Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United States (186)

7. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta (185)

8. Hungary (183)

9. Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia (182)

10. Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia (181)

The most inconvenient passports to hold:

Fewer than 40 countries have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access for several countries throughout the world. These are some of them:

105. North Korea (39 destinations)

106. Nepal and Palestinian territories (37)

107. Somalia (34)

108. Yemen (33)

109. Pakistan (31)

110. Syria (29)

111. Iraq (28)

112. Afghanistan (26)