Germany has the world’s most powerful passport.
When it comes to passports, not all are created equal.
Residents of countries like Germany and Sweden will have little trouble globe-trotting without a visa. Meanwhile, people with passports from Afghanistan and Pakistan face the most restrictions on visa-free travel.
Heley & Partners created a “Visa Restrictions Index,” ranking countries with visa regulations effective as of Jan. 1, 2016.
There are 219 countries recognized in the world, meaning the maximum score a country could have is 218, since points aren’t assigned for one’s own country. Here are the top and bottom countries in the index.
The No. 1 passport in the world: Germany comes in at No. 1 with a score of 177, meaning its residents can access 177 countries without obtaining a visa. In 2015, countries including the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, Indonesia and Vietnam lifted their visa requirements for German citizens to travel to those countries.
The runner-up: Sweden ranks No. 2, as its citizens have access to 176 countries. What’s the one country that separates Sweden and Germany? Mongolia. Mongolia lifted its visa requirements for German citizens in September 2013.
Power of an EU passport: A group of European countries all tie for the No. 3 spot. Residents of Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom can all access 175 countries.
While the European Union has received full reciprocity with certain countries, visa requirements may differ among each of the European Union countries.
U.S. ties for No. 4: The U.S. ties with Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands for the next most powerful passport. Citizens of these countries have access to 174 countries.
Top countries in Asia: Passports from Japan and Singapore come with visa-free access to 173 countries.
The most restrictive passports: Afghanistan comes in last in the index, offering visa-free access to just 25 countries. Other countries near the bottom of the index include Pakistan (29), Iraq (30), Somalia (31), Syria (32) and Libya (36).
Source: Market Watch