Passport “power” is defined as how many countries the travel document can get you into without a visa, and on this year’s Passport Power Index by international migration assistance firm Henley and Partners, Israel’s passport ranked 19th in the world. Israelis can enter 147 countries without an advance visa, just by showing up at an international airport. Israel’s rank in the 2017 index was one place higher than in 2016.
“Generally, visa requirements are a reflection of a country’s relationship with others, and take into account diplomatic relationships between countries, reciprocal visa arrangements, security risks, and the dangers of visa and immigration regulation violations,” according to Christian Kalin, chairman of Henley & Partners. As such, Israelis had a relatively “powerful” passport, providing them with visa-free admission to a large number of countries around the world, including most of Europe and South America. Notable exceptions include China and the United States, both of which require Israelis to arrange for visas in advance of visiting.
The most powerful passport is that of Germany, which allows bearers entry to more than 175 of the 219 listed countries. The “worst” passports – meaning those that afforded visa-free entry to the fewest countries – were Afghanistan (24 countries), Iraq (27), and Pakistan (28). The passport of the United States ranked third, allowing visa-free entry to 174 countries, the same as the passports of Denmark, Finland, Italy, the U.K. and Spain.
Given the new political situation in the U.S. and U.K., however, that could change, said Mr. Kalin. “We have witnessed several major events recently that are likely to have an impact on global mobility — including Brexit and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump,” he said. “Both can be interpreted as steps toward restricting movement and creating barriers to entry.”