Taiwan has 26th 'most powerful' passport in the world: index ranking

Global residence and citizenship planning firm Henley & Partners published the latest 2018 Henley Passport Index on May 22

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Taiwan has the 26th most powerful passport in the world, according to the latest edition of an index that ranks passports according to the number of countries around the globe that provide holders of the passport with visa-free access.

Global residence and citizenship planning firm Henley & Partners published the latest 2018 Henley Passport Index on Tuesday, using data from the International Air Transport Association, which "maintains the world's largest and most comprehensive database of travel information," according to the index's website.

The latest 2018 edition ranked Taiwan's Republic of China passport as 26th best in the world, as it provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 148 countries, more than that of its neighbors China or the Philippines at 70 and 66, respectively.

That was an improvement from last year, when Taiwan's passport was ranked 31st, with 134 countries granting its holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival access.

The index's ranking is somewhat misleading, however, since there were actually 58 countries with passports that ranked above Taiwan's this year.

That's because the index allots one ranking position for each number of countries granting a passport visa-free or visa-on-arrival access, regardless of ties.

For example, there six countries tied for third this year at 187 countries and seven countries tied for fourth at 186.

The index covers 199 different passports and 227 travel destinations, which are updated in real-time throughout the year, the Henley Passport Index website explained.

Japan's passport topped the list with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 countries, and Singapore and Germany shared second with 188.

Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain and South Korea shared third place at 187 countries, while Norway, the United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and the United States followed in fourth at 186.

Among other countries in Asia, Malaysia ranked ninth, Hong Kong 16th and Thailand 64th.

At the bottom of the rankings were Afghanistan and Iraq, whose passports offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to only 30 countries.