While many Westerners have a wide array of visa-free travel options to much of the developed world (when was the last time the average European or American traveled somewhere that required a visa?) all of our talk here about second passports may make you wonder: what are the most valuable passports in the world?
You might think a US passport is among the most valuable, but it’s not. Nor is it the British passport, as has been reported by London newspapers.
For example, United States citizens with a regular passport can travel to 172 countries visa-free.
However, European nationals have a leg up on the rest of the world thanks to “freedom of movement” around Europe. Foreigners, on the other hand, may spend only three out of every six months in Europe.
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The five most valuable passports for visa-free travel
Danish passport holders enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 172 countries, including basically all of Europe and the Americas. As one of the richest countries on earth, Danish passport holders also enjoy unfettered access to Europe’s borderless Schengen area. Those plans were called into question in 2011, however, when the Danish government suggested cracking down on its borders to keep out “illegal immigrants and organized crime”. The EU balked at the proposal, which the newly-elected Danish government scrapped later that year.
Luxembourg passport holders also enjoy visa-free access to 172 countries around the world. However, Luxembourg passports also entitle their owners to visa-on-arrival access in countries like India; Danish passports don’t. According to the IMF and World Bank, Luxembourg was either the richest or second richest nation in the world based on purchasing power parity. Citizens of Luxembourg have maintained a low profile in the world, which has helped them build one of the most successful offshore banking centers in Europe.
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3. United Kingdom
United Kingdom passports have been deemed among the most valuable passports in the world, allowing those traveling with one visa-free access to 173 countries. According to the Henley survey, that makes the UK passport the winner of a three-way tie. However, the UK is not a member of Europe’s Schengen area, which means British tourists must show their passport when entering continental Europe. UK passport holders must also obtain a visa-on-arrival for several Eastern European nations, something some other passports on this list don’t require.
Sweden’s passport is one of the most respected in the world. In fact, all Nordic countries enjoy excellent visa-free travel options to almost anywhere in the world. With 173 countries open for visa-free travel, having a Swedish passport can come well in handy, along with the excellent reputation it offers the traveler. However, Swedish passport holders cannot travel visa-free to India and enjoy fewer opportunities to visit Africa and Southeast Asia than holders of the #1 passport…
The world’s most transparent nation (and one of my most underestimated economies) also offers the world’s most valuable passport for visa-free travel. While in a three-way tie with Sweden and the United Kingdom, Finland’s passport offers more commonly used visa-free travel options, including India. Finnish passport holders even enjoy visa-free access to Vietnam, a traditionally difficult country to enter. And Finnish passports come with the added bonus of a walking moose flip book effect.
Which of these passports do you think is the most valuable travel document? Share your comments below.
If you want a second passport for “citizenship insurance” or for greater visa-free travel, you can learn more about second passports with us.