While many westerners have relatively unfettered access to visa-free travel to much of the civilized world, all of our talk here about second passports may have made you wonder: “What is the most valuable passport in the world?”
To start, it’s not the United States passport. According to Henley, Americans can access 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 EU, whereas foreigners may stay only three out of every six months.
Top 5 Most valuable passports for visa-free travel
Denmark passport holders have 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 passport holders enjoy visa-on-arrival access in countries like India, which Danish passport holders do not. 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. Swedish passport holders can not, however, travel visa-free to India, and enjoy fewer visa-free options than holders of the #1 passport do in Africa and Southeast Asia.
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.
Which of these passports would you most like to travel with? Share your comments below.
If you want to learn how to get citizenship in a country with a great visa-free travel document, consider joining my private club, The Nomad Society. By doing so, you’ll get instant access to a lot of great resources on not only passports, but other aspects of internationalization. Plus, you’ll be able to meet up with myself and other Society Members around the world.
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