New Zealand's passport has been ranked the 8th "most powerful" in the world, as Japan overtake Singapore to claim the number one title.

New Zealand passport holders can travel without visas to 182 countries, where Japans citizens now get visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 190 countries, one more than Singapore, which sits on 189.

The Henley Passport Index ranks passports according to their travel power using data from the International Air Transport Association.

The US and the UK, which jointly occupied the top spot in 2015, have since slid to 5th place - with Germany, China and Russia also dropping down the list, according to the Daily Mail.


Australia, which provides access to 183 countries, comes in seventh.

Germany, another country to hold the top spot in previous years, is now in third place alongside South Korea and France.

Iraq and Afghanistan continue to sit at the bottom of the Index.

The US and the UK both give access to 186 destinations with their passports, but neither have gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018.

The UAE has made the most remarkable ascent on the Henley Passport Index, from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place worldwide currently.

However, their progress might be outstripped by Kosovo which officially met all the criteria for visa-liberalization with the EU in July and is now in discussions with the European Council.

Russia received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver, but the country has nonetheless fallen from 46th to 47th place due to movements higher up the ranking.

The same is true of China: Chinese nationals obtained access to two new jurisdictions (St. Lucia and Myanmar), but the Chinese passport fell two places, to 71st overall.


Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says countries with citizenship-by-investment programs all fall within the top 50 of the index.

Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI program in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008.

"The travel freedom that comes with a second passport is significant, while the economic and societal value that CBI programs generate for host countries can be transformative," says Dr. Kälin.

Henley Passport Index power ranking:

1. Japan: 190
2. Singapore: 189
3. Germany, France, South Korea: 188
4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain: 187
5. Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, United States: 186
6. Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada: 185
7. Australia, Greece, Malta: 183
8. New Zealand, Czech Republic: 182
9. Iceland: 181
10. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia: 180