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How Powerful Is The Australian Passport?

A new study has ranked countries based on their access to visa-free travel.

In today’s globalised world, visas play a large part in international travel. It’s imperative that you find out whether there’s visa restrictions for the place you’re travelling to or even for your transit country and sometimes you’re not even allowed to board the plane in your departure destination if you can’t present your approved visa for the country where you’ll disembark. The less countries one needs a visa to visit, the easier the border-crossing process is, and the smoother your journey will be.

A new study by London-based consulting firm Henley & Partners, who specialise in citizenship services, has ranked the power of passports around the world based on how much visa-free travel their passport allows. The Visa Index reflects relationships between individual nations but also the status of a country within the broader scope of international relations.

So how do Australia’s travel freedoms stack up? Not too bad at all. Australia is ranked eighth in the index, down two from from sixth in 2015, with visa-free travel to 169 countries. However, due to a lot of the places above eighth being tied, there’s actually 23 countries that are able to move around the globe more freely than us, including the USA (174 countries) and our neighbours in New Zealand (171 countries).

Germany has taken out the top spot for the third year in a row with visa-free access to 177 countries out of 218. Europe has a strong showing in the top ten, mostly thanks to the European Union which allows easy visa-free travel across most of the continent. Afghanistan ranks the lowest, allowing visa-free access to only 25 countries, followed by Pakistan (29), Iraq (30), Somalia (31) and Syria (32).

Check out the top ten most powerful passports below with the number of countries they can travel to freely.

#1 Germany (177)
#2 Sweden (176)
#3 Finland (175)
#4 France & Italy & Spain & United Kingdom & Belgium & Denmark & Netherlands & United States (174)
#5 Austria & Japan & Singapore (173)
#6 Canada & Ireland & South Korea & Luxembourg & Norway & Portugal & Switzerland (172)
#7 Greece & New Zealand (171)
#8 Australia (169)
#9 Malta (168)
#10 Hungary & Czech Republic & Iceland (167)

(Lead image: slgckgc/Flickr)