Swiss passport rises in ranking, now joint-fifth best in the world

Swiss passport rises in ranking, now joint-fifth best in the world

The latest iteration of the Henley Passport Index has ranked the Swiss passport as the joint-fifth most powerful in the world. The alpine nation’s score in the index has improved since the start of the year, with the famous red document now allowing visa-free travel to 187 destinations around the world.

The Henley Passport Index Q3 2023

To create the ranking for each quarter, the investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners analyses 199 different passports to see which are the most and least useful for international travel. This is determined by whether each pass is able to grant visa-free access to 227 different travel destinations around the world. 

Each passport is awarded a single point for every country or destination that the user can travel to without having to apply for a visa, and any country where only a visa on arrival, visitors permit or an electronic travel authority (ETA) is required. On the flip side, for every location where the holder needs a visa that cannot be claimed at airports, ports or border checkpoints, or places where pre-departure government approval is mandatory, the passport receives zero points.

Switzerland records best passport score since 2017

After falling back to seventh in 2022 and retaining its place at the start of 2023, the Henley & Partners ranking for the third quarter of this year saw Switzerland rise two places to joint-fifth, the country's highest finish since 2017. The alpine nation was placed alongside Belgium, Czechia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway and Portugal.

The higher score means Swiss citizens can now visit 187 destinations without a pre-approved visa or permit, a one-point improvement compared to the start of the year. What's more, Switzerland is not too far away from the higher echelons of the ranking, placing only a point behind the Netherlands in fourth and only three points behind Germany in second.

Singapore beats Japan to top spot in Q3 passport index

For the Q3 index, Singapore usurped Japan’s crown placing first with 192 points, while the latter saw itself fall to joint third having lost four points since the start of the year. The Swiss government will have to get its skates on and agree to five new visa-free treaties with other nations before it has any hope of competing for first place.

By contrast, the bottom of the ranking has remained unchanged since the start of the year. Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria were the bottom three, scoring 27, 29 and 30 points respectively.

The best and worst passports in 2023

As of the third quarter of 2023, the best passports in the world are:

  1. Singapore (192)
  2. Germany, Italy, Spain (190)
  3. Austria, Finland, France, Japan, Luxembourg, South Korea, Sweden (189)
  4. The Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, United Kingdom (188)
  5. Belgium, Czechia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland (187)
  6. Australia, Hungary, Poland (186)
  7. Canada, Greece (185)
  8. Lithuania, United States (184)
  9. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (183)
  10. Estonia, Iceland (180)

Meanwhile, occupying the bottom spots in this quarter's ranking are: 

  1. Afghanistan (27)
  2. Iraq (29)
  3. Syria (30)
  4. Pakistan (33)
  5. Yemen, Somalia (35)
  6. Palestinian Territory, Nepal (38)
  7. North Korea (39)
  8. Bangladesh (40)
  9. Libya, Sri Lanka (41)
  10. Kosovo (42)

To find out more about the ranking’s methodology, or to read the full report, visit the Henley & Partners website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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