US loses ranking in Henley & Partners passport index

Henley & Partners, a London-based citizenship and residence advisory firm, has announced the EU released a list of countries allowed into the block, based on health and safety criteria, the company said.

Included were Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea that traditionally score highly on the Henley Passport Index — the original ranking of all the world´s passports according to the number of destinations you can access without a visa. However, in a move perceived as a stinging rebuke for its poor handling of the pandemic, the US was notably excluded from the welcome list, as were Brazil and Russia.

The US passport usually ranks in the top 10, with its citizens able to access 185 destinations without a visa. However, under the current EU ban, Americans have roughly the same level of travel freedom as citizens of Uruguay and Mexico (ranked 28th and 25th respectively).

Russian citizens — whose passport usually ranks ahead of countries such as Georgia and Albania (both included on the EU´s list) — have seen their passport strength reduced to one of the weakest in the region. And Brazilian passport holders — most recently placed 19th on the index ­– currently have roughly the same travel freedom as citizens of Paraguay in 36th position.

Without taking the current travel bans into account, Japan continues to hold the number one spot on the Henley Passport Index with a score of 191. Singapore remains in 2nd place, while Germany and South Korea are in joint-3rd place. Singapore however has been excluded from the EU list so its citizens currently have far less travel freedom than their closest competitors on the index, which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Experts suggest that the Covid-19 crisis is likely to make international mobility more restricted and unpredictable in the longer term.