How powerful is Indian passport? Check 2018 Henley Passport Index ranking here

Japan has the strongest passport in the world according to new Henley & Partners ranking

According to its website, the Henley Passport Index is a "ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free".

Singapore featured at No.2 with 189 visa waivers, while Germany lost the top spot to end up at No.3 together with France and South Korea at 188 visa waivers. This year, the ranking of both the USA and United Kingdom has slipped, providing visa-free access to 186 destinations.

Germany, South Korea and France all now sit in third according to the index.

The UAE, meanwhile, is now the strongest in the Middle East, jumping from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st in the 2018 index.

Frequent Filipino travelers won't find this surprising and are surely all too familiar with the hassle and uncertainty of applying for a visa to visit foreign countries.

But in territories or countries where visas are required, or where passport holders have to obtain a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) before departure, a score of 0 is assigned. It is updated regularly to reflect changes in the number of visa-waiver agreements signed between countries.

It includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations.

But that discussion will remain hard, according to Professor Florian Trauner from the Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels. "Relaxing visa rules may be criticized as being lenient on migration control - a criticism few want to risk in a time when right-wing populist parties are on the rise".

Japan recently acquired visa-free access to Myanmar, helping it beat passport rival Singapore. Newcomer Moldova, due to launch its CBI program in November, climbed 20 places since 2008.

"Along with the Henley & Partners - Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index, the Henley Passport Index is considered the most credible reference tool within the investment migration industry", it said.

"The success stories of Mauritius and the Seychelles are a testament to the benefits that come with opening up your country to others", said Amanda Smit, director of Henley & Partners South Africa. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

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