Visa requirements are an interesting but overlooked indicator of international relations. Most countries require non-nationals to get visas before they enter their borders, but the requirements can differ a lot.
Countries that are allies often offer each others’ citizens a quick visa on arrival. For countries that are not so friendly, a visitor may have to provide entry and exit information, a letter of invitation, and even list all of the clubs they belonged to in high school — as well as paying a hefty fee.
Financial advisory firm Arton Capital created a passport index that allows you to sort passports for countries around the world by a “passport power rank.” The ranking is calculated by how many countries passport holders can visit without an advance visa, or by purchasing a visa on arrival.
The ranking puts the U.S. and U.K. passports first, giving access to 147 countries without an advanced visa. France, South Korea and Germany are second, with access to 145 countries, followed by Italy and Sweden in third; Denmark, Singapore, Finland, Japan, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in fourth; and Switzerland in fifth.
Advanced economies dominate the top of the list. Hong Kong comes in at 11, while Argentina and Israel are ranked 16th. Brazil ranks 17th, Mexico 22nd, the Russian Federation 35th, and China 45th.
The least desirable passports according to this ranking are from the Solomon Islands, Myanmar, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe and the Palestinian Territories. They rank in 80th place, giving access to just 20 countries each without an advance visa.
The site also allows you to sort passports by location and by color. While the color grouping doesn’t have any obvious purpose, it’s strangely satisfying to see the world’s passports grouped into collections of red, blue, green and black.
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