Travellers in possession of a Singapore passport will have great variety in their travel plans as they are able to visit most destinations without a visa. Edgar Su/Reuters

The Henley Passport Index has revealed that the most dominant passport across the globe right now belongs to Singapore. As of the third quarter rankings for 2023, Singapore reigns at the very top for the most visa-free entries for its passport holders.

The findings for the Henley Passport Index come from exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This data allows the world's passports to be ranked based on how many countries its users can enter without the need for a visa upon arrival.

Singapore's place at the top comes from its passport holders currently able to gain visa-free entry to 192 travel destinations out of 227. Singapore achieved the same total last year and was ranked joint second, however, it was enough for supremacy this year as last year's best-ranked nation, Japan, slipped to 189 nations this year, and into joint-third place.

In the past decade, Singapore has consistently remained near the very top of the Henley Passport Index, making it in the top five every year since 2014 and coming at least in second place since 2018. This marks Singapore's third occasion at the very top as the nation was joint leader with Japan in 2019 and was the undisputed leader in 2021, with its passport holders then having access to 194 different locations.

Finishing just behind Singapore this year, in joint-second place and with its passport holders having access to 190 separate nations visa-free, is Germany, Italy and Spain. Third-placed Japan were joined by 189 accessible nations with Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea and Sweden.

Chairman of Henley & Partners, Dr Christian H. Kaelin, touched on the achievements of other successful nations from the index including the UAE and Columbia.

He pronounced: "The UAE has added an impressive 107 destinations to its visa-free score since 2013, resulting in a massive leap of 44 places in the ranking over the past 10 years from 56th to 12th position. This is almost double the next biggest climber, Colombia, which has enjoyed a jump of 28 places in the ranking to sit in 37th spot."

Britain's entry into a joint-fourth spot with 188 accessible nations, is an improvement on last year's sixth-place ranking and could be a hint that the British passport is regaining its power after years of dropping down the index. Britain previously had real dominance across the Henley Passport Index as it was ranked in the top three nations from 2010 to 2016, including first place in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

For the United States, its eighth-place finish with 184 accessible nations makes it the nation's worst-ever ranking position on the Henley Passport Index. The US passport has slowly been declining in power and access over the last few years with the country failing to make the top five in the index since 2018 and its current position is a far cry from being ranked first in the inaugural Henley Passport Index in 2006.

What has resulted in the change in the landscape of the index over the past decade for the US passport is that it has only gained access to an additional 12 nations since 2013. In that same time frame, Singapore has increased the number of access destinations its passport has up by 25.

Leading global strategist and urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech's Jacobs Institute, Greg Lindsay, spoke on the decline in the power of the US passport. He stated: "By more or less standing still, the US has fallen behind. While its absolute score has in fact risen over the last decade, the US has been steadily overtaken by rivals such as South Korea, Japan, and Singapore."

Lindsay added that other nations nearby should be aware of the US passport's power decreasing. He claimed: "America's relentless slide down the rankings — and unlikelihood of reclaiming the highest position any time soon — is a warning to its neighbour Canada and the rest of the Anglosphere as well."

The weakest passport and least helpful in entering countries without a visa is Afghanistan in its 103rd place, with its passport holders only able to reach 27 destinations. The country has regularly been at the foot of the rankings since the index's inception in 2006 with its passport gaining visa-free access to just 15 further countries since then.

The nations just behind Afghanistan include Iraq, Syria and Pakistan with 29, 30 and 33 destinations that those passports can access visa-free respectively. The lowest-ranked European nation on the 2023 index is Kosovo, with the Southeastern country in the 94th spot, with its passport holders able to gain visa-free entry into 42 destinations.

Overall, the index has suggested there is greater freedom for passport holders around the world than there was when the rankings began as the average amount of destinations to enter without a visa has increased from 58 in 2006 to 109 nowadays. However, there is a greater difference in the number of accessible destinations between the first and last-ranked nations than ever before, as the Singapore passport can grant visa-free entry into 165 more locations than Afghanistan.

Elsewhere, Singapore Changi Airport was again voted as the best international airport in 2023 by Travel + Leisure, marking a decade of first-place dominance in the category for the airport. What makes the airport appeal to many travellers especially is the iconic Rain Vortex, which is the tallest indoor waterfall in the world.