Germany has taken first place on the Henley Passport Index for the fifth year running, with its citizens enjoying visa-free access to 177 countries in total, up from 176 countries in 2017.
Singapore ranks second globally on the 2018 edition of the index, with visa-free access to 176 countries.
Some eight countries – Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the UK – share third place, offering passport-holders access to 175 countries.
Ranking jointly fourth on the index, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain all provide visa-free access to 174 countries.
The Henley Passport Index is acknowledged as the original and most authoritative passport index, with historical data spanning 13 years.
The global ranking is the only one of its kind that is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.
The US is among the countries holding fifth place on the 2018 edition of the index, improving its visa-free score from 172 in 2017 to 173 in 2018.
The Russian Federation, meanwhile, climbed three places to 48th position.
China has shown the most growth in north Asia over the past year, moving up ten places compared to 2017 and now ranking 75th globally.
For the second year in a row, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan sit at the bottom of the Henley Passport Index, each able to access 30 or fewer countries visa-free.
Christian Kälin, chairman of Henley & Partners, said the need for visa-free access is greater than ever.
“Across the economic spectrum, individuals want to transcend the constraints imposed on them by their country of origin and access business, financial, career, and lifestyle opportunities on a global scale.
“The Henley Passport Index shows individuals where they lie on the spectrum of global mobility, revealing the strength that their passport has in relation to other passports,” he added.