Switzerland has the joint-fifth most powerful passport in the world in 2024

Switzerland has the joint-fifth most powerful passport in the world in 2024

It may take 10 years of residency to acquire citizenship, but the Swiss passport may well be worth the effort, according to the latest Henley Passport Index. The famous red document was rated as the joint-fifth best in the world for 2024, offering travellers visa-free access to 190 nations and territories worldwide.

Henley & Partners returns with new passport index

As sure as the sun is to rise in the morning is the arrival of the Henley Passport Index at the start of the year: a ranking of 199 different passports from around the world by how useful they are for international travel. This is determined by whether a country’s passport can grant visa-free access to 227 travel destinations.

A passport is awarded one point for every destination that the holder can travel to without having to apply for a visa and any place where only a visa on arrival, an easily accessible visitors permit or an electronic travel authority (ETA) is required. By contrast, for every place where the holder needs a pre-arranged visa - one that cannot be claimed at airports, other ports of entry or border checkpoints - or where each entrant requires a pre-departure authorisation from the government, the passport is given zero points.

Speaking to 20 Minuten, president of Henley & Partners Christian Kaelin noted that the 2024 report showcased both an increase in interconnectivity between nations and a widening gap between the most useful passports and the least. “The average number of destinations accessible without a visa has almost doubled, from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024. The best-ranked countries can now go to 166 more destinations than Afghanistan,” he noted.

Swiss passport rated joint-fifth best in the world

Since the ranking was first launched 18 years ago, the Swiss passport has seen its score fluctuate significantly, from a high of fourth place in the very first report in 2006, down to an all-time low of 10th in 2010. This year, the alpine nation continued its upward trajectory in the ranking, placing joint fifth after coming in joint sixth at the start of 2023.

The 2024 report sees Switzerland record its best performance since 2016, sharing fifth place with Greece and Malta. The Swiss passport now offers visa-free access to 190 global destinations, an improvement of two compared to the start of 2023. 

What’s more, the alpine nation is only two destinations behind a podium place and the Netherlands in third, and only four destinations behind the countries in first place, namely Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Singapore and Spain. On the opposite side of the ranking sat Afghanistan, with the country’s passport only offering visa-free access to 28 global destinations.

Strongest passports in the world in 2024

In all, here are the most powerful passports in the world, as of the start of 2024:

  1. France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain (194)
  2. Finland, South Korea, Sweden (193)
  3. Austria, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands (192)
  4. Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom (191)
  5. Greece, Malta, Switzerland (190)
  6. Australia, Czechia, New Zealand, Poland (189)
  7. Canada, Hungary, United States (188)
  8. Estonia, Lithuania (187)
  9. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (186)
  10. Iceland (185)

Meanwhile, occupying the bottom spots in the 2024 ranking are:

  1. Afghanistan (28)
  2. Syria (29)
  3. Iraq (31)
  4. Pakistan (34)
  5. Yemen (35)
  6. Somalia (36)
  7. Libya, Nepal, Palestinian Territory (40)
  8. Bangladesh, North Korea (42)
  9. Eritrea, Sri Lanka (43)
  10. Iran, Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan (45)

To see which countries can be visited without a visa with a Swiss passport, check out Henley's list. For more information about the report, check out the Henley & Partners website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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