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This Is the Most Powerful Passport in the World (No, It’s Not a U.S.)

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 02-09-2017 Marissa Laliberte

© allstars/Shutterstock When you’re leaving for an international trip, a passport is the single most important thing to double check you remembered. After all, it’s your one ticket to get out of the country—and get back in. Passports are powerful, but not all are created equal.

Depending on what passport you own (including the rarest passport in the world), you’ll need a visa to get into different countries. For instance, a U.S. passport is all you need to get into Peru. If you decide to head to Brazil while you’re there, though, you’ll need to apply for a visa. But a Peruvian passport would let you cross the border into Brazil without a visa.

Naturally, some passports will get you into more countries visa-free than others. Global financial advisory firm Arton Capital ranked every country’s passport from most to least powerful, based on how many countries it would give access to without a visa. The Passport Index updates in real time when new visa rules come out, and you can even explore passports by country or by color. (Find out what your passport colour really means.)

As of press time, Germany and Singapore tied as the most powerful passports in the world. Both get their owners into 158 countries without a visa. In second place are Sweden and South Korea, which both give access to 157 countries. But none will cross a border if you’re part of this weird rule that considers some valid passports expired.

The United States, which has 156 visa-free countries on its list, doesn’t come in until the third most powerful group. It’s tied with Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Count yourself lucky if you don’t rely on an Afghanistan passport—that document is the least powerful, only letting citizens into 22 countries without a visa. After that comes Pakistan, with 25 visa-free countries, and Iraq with 26 options.

Also watch: Most powerful passports in the world (Provided by Wochit)


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