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: just what is the most valuable passport 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, according to sources, United States citizens can travel to 172 countries visa-free. However, European nationals have a leg up on the rest of the world because they enjoy permanent access to the nations of the European Union, whereas foreigners may stay only three out of every six months.
Are you holding one of the best passports in the world when it comes to the immigration counter? Let’s find out, starting with this video…
Top 5 Most valuable passports for visa-free travel
Denmark 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, Denmark 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 a 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 from by purchasing power parity. Luxemburgians have maintained a low-profile in the world, which has helped them build one of Europe’s most successful offshore banking centers.
3. United Kingdom
United Kingdom passports have been deemed among the most valuable passports in the world, with 173 countries allowing visa-free access to those traveling with one. 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 can not travel visa-free to India, and enjoy fewer opportunities to visit Africa and Southeast Asia than holders of the #1 passport… see below.
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.
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