World’s most powerful passport 2023: full list
When choosing a country for a second passport, you should pay attention to the number of countries that a citizen can freely visit without a visa. Find out more about the most powerful passport in the world 2023
Freedom of travel is of great importance in the life of a modern person. After the lifting of travel restrictions related to the epidemic of COVID-19, the issue of visa-free entry is again gaining popularity among tourists and expats. The number of countries that a citizen can freely visit is one of the key factors for choosing a country to move to or obtain a second passport. Many criteria have been developed to assess the strength of a passport, but the most indicative is the list of destinations to which holders of the most convenient passports in the world can travel without a visa.
So, which countries' passports are recognized as the best in 2023? Let's talk further.
Rating of the most travel-friendly passports in 2023
The Henley Passport Index is a quarterly ranking of the world's most powerful passports based on the number of countries a passport holder can enter without a visa. For evaluation, the index uses data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and analyzes 199 passports and 277 destinations.
For five long years, Japan occupied the first place in the ranking, but in the summer of 2023, the country dropped to second place, from now on the ranking looks like this:
1st place - Singapore became the new owner of the title of "the most powerful passport in the world", because its citizens can visit 193 out of 227 destinations around the world without a visa, which is equivalent to 85% of countries.
2nd place - Japan took second place, providing its citizens with visa-free access to 192 destinations.
3rd place – Germany, Italy, South Korea and Spain shared the third place in the ranking. For citizens of these countries, entry to 191 countries is visa-free.
4th place – Austria, Finland, Luxembourg and Sweden, 190 destinations.
5th place – Denmark, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Great Britain, 189 destinations.
6th place – Belgium, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland, 188 destinations.
7th place - Australia, Malta with 187 destinations.
8th place – Canada, Greece, Hungary and Poland, 186 destinations.
9th place - USA, 185 destinations.
10th place – Lithuania, Slovakia with 184 destinations.
That is, there are almost 30 countries in the world whose citizens have the right to free entry to most destinations. Having received a passport of one of these states, you can significantly simplify personal travel rules. How to do it?
How to get citizenship of countries with the best passports?
Most of the countries in the ranking of countries with the strongest passports have rather complex requirements for obtaining citizenship. For example, after analyzing the list, you can come to the conclusion that for maximum freedom of travel, you need to obtain Japanese citizenship. However, this procedure can be quite difficult for most expats.
Requirements for applicants to obtain Japanese citizenship:
Foreigners over the age of 18 can become Japanese citizens through naturalization. To be eligible, you must have lived in the country for at least five years, renounce any previous citizenship, demonstrate that you have a job or sufficient income, understand Japanese culture and customs, and speak Japanese fluently.
● The procedure for obtaining citizenship in other countries from the rating of the most convenient passports for travel
In general, the most popular option for obtaining a passport that can provide freedom of movement is obtaining citizenship through naturalization. To do this, you need to move to the country and get a temporary or permanent residence permit, after 5-10 years you can apply for citizenship. During this period, foreigners will already be able to enjoy the advantages of life in a new country.
It is also possible to obtain citizenship by birth, marriage or descent. However, these options are not available to all expats.
Citizenship by Investment remains one of the easiest ways to get a free passport, with countries with the best programs including:
Foreigners who will make investments in the country's economy in the amount of 150,000 euros or more can issue a permanent residence permit in the country. Investment options: purchase of real estate (from EUR 300,000) or real estate lease for five years (starting investment amount – EUR 150,000). The registration period is 4-6 months.
Maltese citizenship is available to investors who will contribute to the country's economy in the amount of 690,000 euros or more, the main conditions are:
1. Make a contribution to the National Development Fund of Malta in the amount of 600,000 euros or more.
2. Charitable contribution in the amount of 10,000 euros.
3. Rent real estate for 5 years worth 16,000 euros per year or buy it for 700,000 euros.
However, even with this method of investment, the expat first receives a residence permit for a period of 1 to 3 years. At the end of this period, the foreigner must pass an eligibility test and apply for citizenship after that.
The "Golden Visa" program - investors receive a residence permit in Italy in just 3 months if they make a contribution to the country's economy in the amount of more than 250,000 euros.
Available investment options: investment in a startup - 250,000 euros, in a business - 500,000 euros, in a charitable organization - 1,000,000 euros, purchase of government bonds - 2,000,000 euros. Another advantage is that you can get a permit together with your family.
Foreigners who invest in a business or open a company and create a minimum of 10 jobs for Portuguese receive a residence permit in Portugal. You can also apply if you invest at least 250,000 euros in the country's cultural heritage.
Foreigners receive the country's "golden visa" in exchange for 500,000 euros. Permit holders can work, have access to the health care system and the right to travel freely.
Citizenship for financially independent persons
One of the easiest ways to obtain legal residency in Portugal is to apply for a D7 visa, also known as a passive income visa. It allows you to travel to the countries of the Schengen zone, get tax benefits, and after 5 years - citizenship of Portugal.
The main condition is to prove that you have a stable annual income of at least 760 euros outside of Portugal. You also need to buy or rent a property, but there are no cost limits.
Austria offers a permanent residence permit to those who spend at least 100,000 euros on moving to the country. However, working on the basis of this document is prohibited. The term of issuing a permit is 3 months, you can move with your family.
After 6-10 years, the applicant will have the right to apply for citizenship in the country.
Switzerland offers foreigners a residence permit if they pay a one-off tax of 450,000 francs or more. On the basis of this permit, you will be able to move to the country with your family, but you will not get the right to work. You can apply for citizenship after 10 years of living in the state.
Which passports were recognized as the worst in 2023?
The countries with the worst passports in 2023 were Afghanistan (27 visa-free countries), Iraq (29 visa-free countries), Syria (30 visa-free countries), Pakistan (32 visa-free countries) and Yemen (34 visa-free countries).
So, there are a lot of strong passports in the world that open up great prospects for their holders. It is quite possible to obtain citizenship or a residence permit in one of these states. The consultation of a highly qualified lawyer will help assess the expat's chances, get familiar with the procedure and prepare the necessary package of documents.
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