Most Powerful Passports: India’s Rank Falls to 85th in Global Passport Index

Most Powerful Passports: India's Rank Falls to 85th in Global Passport Index
Most Powerful Passports: India's Rank Falls to 85th in Global Passport Index

The Henley Passport Index ranks countries based on how powerful their passports are. In 2024, France leads the list because its passport allows visa-free entry to 194 countries.

The latest release of the 2024 Henley Passport Index indicates that India has slipped to 85th place, descending one rank from the previous year. This index evaluates 199 nations based on their passport strength. France leads the list in 2024, with its passport allowing visa-free access to 194 countries.

India’s ranking declined by one position from the previous year to 85th, despite an increase in the number of countries granting visa-free access to Indians, rising to 62 from 60 in 2023.

This came as a surprise but it’s a ranking and it depends on how many additional visa-free access the countries ranking above you have got.

Pakistan, amidst political turmoil, maintained its rank at 106, while Bangladesh’s position slipped from 101 in 2023 to 102 in the current year.

Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Spain join France at the top of the rankings.

Interestingly, the Maldives, India’s maritime neighbor, secured the 58th position, granting its citizens visa-free access to 96 countries.

In geopolitics, the strength of a country’s passport serves as a crucial metric for assessing its soft power. A robust passport enables citizens to travel globally without the need for visas.

China experienced a slight improvement in its ranking, rising from 66th in 2023 to 64th this year. This gown occurred as China extended visa-free access to numerous European nations, aiming to revitalize its tourism sector amidst the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Meanwhile, the United States climbed from 7th to 6th place in the rankings, despite its divisive anti-immigration stance, which is becoming a focal point in the upcoming Presidential elections.

India’s Historical Ranking on the Henley Passport Index

India's Historical Ranking on the Henley Passport Index
India’s Historical Ranking on the Henley Passport Index, Data Source

In 2014, India held the 76th position in global rankings, shortly before Narendra Modi assumed office as Prime Minister, succeeding Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Since then, PM Modi has made efforts to enhance Indians’ access to travel to more countries. Despite these efforts, India has struggled to improve its ranking, failing to reach or surpass the position it held in 2014.

Year Rank
2014 76
2015 88
2016 85
2017 87
2018 81
2019 82
2020 82
2021 90
2022 83
2023 84
2024 85

Methodology used by The Henley Passport Index to rank countries

The Henley Passport Index, with historical data spanning 19 years, stands as a unique resource utilizing exclusive data from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA).

Covering 199 distinct passports and 227 travel destinations, the index is updated monthly, serving as the benchmark for global citizens and sovereign states to gauge passport rankings on the global mobility spectrum,” the Henley Passport Index stated on its website, highlighting the details of its data.

The rankings highlight a notable transformation in global mobility over the past two decades. In 2006, individuals could travel to an average of only 58 countries without needing a visa. However, this number has nearly doubled to 111 countries in the current year, indicating a substantial increase in visa-free travel opportunities.

The most powerful passports in the world, according to the 2024 Henley Passport Index

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

It is worth noting that there’s a big difference in global travel between the most and least powerful countries.

The top countries can visit 166 more places than the lowest-ranked country, Afghanistan. People from Afghanistan can only go to 28 countries without needing a visa. Above Afghanistan are Syria and Iraq, where citizens can visit 29 and 31 places without a visa, respectively.

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