Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape
Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape

Asian Countries Dominate Most Powerful Passport List For 2020

Japan is once again the leader when it comes to the number of destinations a country’s passport can access visa-free followed by Singapore in the second place. This is according to the 2020 edition of the Henley Passport Index (HPI) by Henley & Partners.


The following countries gained the top ten rank based on their HPI scores.

Top 10 countries based on Henley Passport Index score, Adapted from “Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report”, by Henley & Partners, 2020, retrieved from

Japan with a score of 191 leads the list. In close second is Singapore with a score of 190. Meanwhile, Germany and South Korea tie in the third spot (189). Finland and Italy on the other hand tied in fourth place (188). Lastly, a three-way tie between Denmark, Luxembourg, and Spain closes the Top 5 list.

The full rankings are illustrated below. You can click on this report [PDF] for a higher-resolution copy.


HPI is based on the data given by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and updated using open-source online data. The HPI includes 199 distinct passports and 227 travel destinations.

Each passport is checked against all the 227 specified destinations. A country’s passport gains an additional point of 1 if:

  • a holder can enter a territory without a visa requirement or,
  • a holder, upon arrival in the destination, can obtain a visa, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA).

These are conditions defined in the HPI as “visa-free” scenarios.

Otherwise, a score of 0 will be given to a passport for that particular territory.

Summing up all these scores for each territory will yield the HPI score.

This means that a person holding a Japanese passport can enter 191 out of the 227 travel destinations specified in the HPI without needing a visa ahead of time.


Out of the 30 countries which gained the top 10 HPI scores, 21 are European. This means that overall, these countries continue to possess globally mobile passports which they are known for in the previous years.

Meanwhile, the US and the UK which have been consistently in the top rankings are steadily going down. With the issue of Brexit in the UK and the increasingly stricter policies in the US, it appears that this trend will continue in the succeeding years.

However, Asian countries now occupy the top three spots this year with Japan, Singapore and South Korea. This is a distinction that was held by European countries a decade ago.

According to Dr. Christian Kaelin, Henley & Partners Chairman, the rise of the Asian countries in the ranks shows the advantage of open-door policies and mutually beneficial trade agreements seeing how these countries are also economically thriving.

Now that the world is in a synchronized economic slowdown, global mobility is one way to enhance collective growth, according to FutureMap founder Dr. Parag Khana.

Migration, as with almost everything else, is a function of supply and demand — and, increasingly, it is accepted that more migration creates more demand, stimulating much needed economic growth. As the world economy heads into a synchronized slowdown, we must view migration as part of the solution, not the problem,” Khana remarked.

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