11 de January, 2024
The Portuguese passport has once again been recognized as one of the best in the world. In early 2024, it continued to excel in the Global Passport Ranking, maintaining its 4th position among the most powerful for international travel. Currently, it allows entry without a visa in 191 countries, which is 3 more than in the last assessment.
This information is from the latest edition of the Henley Global (Mobility Report 2024 Q1), one of the most respected indices in the market, evaluating passport mobility for the past 19 years.
The global ranking, updated in January of 2024, is organized according to the number of countries their citizens can visit without the need for a visa. A visa is a conditional authorization granted by a country to a foreigner so that they can enter, stay in or leave that country. The greater your power of movement, the more valuable your passport.
Portugal is once again among the top of the list, in sixth place, with one of the most powerful passports for travel in 2024, which allows free access to 191 countries. This list includes the United States and Canada, which only require an electronic authorization (ESTA and eTA, respectively).
The freedom to travel afforded by Portuguese citizenship is due to various factors: Portugal has no history of conflicts with other countries, belongs to the Schengen Area and the European Union, and has historic diplomatic relations on several continents.
The Henley Global Mobility Report evaluates the world’s most influential passports every quarter, taking into account data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Each passport receives a score of 1 if the holder does not need a visa or can obtain a visa on arrival or an electronic travel authorization. If a visa or government approval is required before departure, the score is 0. The ranking is determined by the total number of destinations a passport allows you to visit without a visa.
The ranking covers 199 passports and 227 international destinations. It takes into account geopolitical factors and global issues such as climate change, diverse citizenship and international crises. The analysis, conducted by academics and experts, also takes into account reciprocity in access to other countries.
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In January 2024, Singapore returned to 1st place in the ranking, overtaking Japan, which had remained at the top for 5 consecutive years. Its passport allows free access to the widest range of nations: 193 countries, around 85% of the world.
Japan dropped one position to second place, alongside South Korea and Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden , which moved up the rankings, allowing entry to 190 countries.
In third place are Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, whose travel documents allow free access to 189 countries.
Belgium, Malta, Norway and Portugal are in 4th place (access to 188 countries), while the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Poland and Switzerland are in 5th place (187 countries).
In sixth place is Australia, followed by Canada, Greece and Hungary (with access to 186 countries).
The US passport came in 7th place – along with Lithuania –giving citizens visa-free travel to 185 countries.
Among Latin American countries, Chile leads in the 15th position, with freedom of travel to 177 states for its citizens.
Right behind are Argentina (16th) and Brazil, which climbed three positions, ranking 17th with 174 and 173 visa-free countries, respectively.
The bottom positions on the list are occupied by territories in Asia, Africa, and, especially, the Middle East. Afghanistan appears at the bottom of the list, in 104th place, with a passport that allows visa-free entry to only 28 countries. Among the ten worst passports are also those of North Korea (42 countries do not require a visa), Nepal (40), Pakistan (34), and Syria (29).
In 2014, the American passport was the most powerful in the world. Today it ranks seventh, its lowest position since then. This has occurred over the course of a decade, spanning different administrations and events such as the pandemic and the slow recovery of international travel. The decline in the power of the American passport is mainly due to the very slow growth in visa-free access to other countries. While other nations, such as Singapore, have significantly expanded their travel options, the United States has added only 12 countries in a decade. This is partly due to a lack of visa reciprocity, as evidenced by the loss of visa-free access to Brazil.
In addition, the long waiting times for visas in the US have affected tourism and the economy. While Canada actively expands its access to migrants and international visitors, the US risks falling further down the rankings, which would have significant economic implications.
In the first edition of the survey conducted in 2006, the global average of countries that could be visited without visas was 57. In 2024, this number is nearly double. Progress in mobility occurs mainly in the European, North American, and more powerful Asian countries.
However, the disparity between leading and less favored countries is greater than ever, with Singapore, in the first place, surpassing Afghanistan by 165 destinations. The report reveals that only 6% of passports worldwide grant their holders visa-free access to over 70% of the global economy.
The Henley Global Mobility Report 2024 emphasizes the crucial relevance of passport power and visa-free access in driving economic development. Facilitating the free movement of people and capital across international borders eases investment and the flow of talents to where they are most needed, yielding the highest returns.
Strong passports not only benefit citizens with greater financial and travel freedom, but also make countries more attractive to foreign investors seeking residency or citizenship. By implementing effective investment migration programs, nations can strengthen their position on the global stage, attract investment, reduce public debt and finance social and infrastructure projects for the benefit of their citizens.
For global citizens and international entrepreneurs, having a powerful passport means greater economic mobility and more business opportunities. Get your Portuguese citizenship and acquire one of the most powerful passports in the world. Make an appointment with one of our consultants.
*Silvia Resende is a journalist at Atlantic Bridge. From Bahia, she arrived in Portugal in 2015 to build a new life with her family. She has a degree in Communication from UFBa, in Brazil, and a Master’s in Communication Sciences from the University of Porto. She has worked as a TV presenter, reporter, event producer, public relations officer and tour guide in Porto. She loves traveling and exploring the cultural heritage of each place she visits. She is also a Portuguese citizen and has a passport that allows her to visit 188 countries freely!