TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Taiwanese hold the world's 28th most powerful passport, an increase of two spots from its previous ranking on Arton Capital's Passport Index report last year.
Financial advisory firm Arton Capital releases the study every year on the strength of the world's passports based on the number of countries citizens can travel to without having to apply for a visa.
According to the recent update, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was ranked as the most powerful passport, giving its citizens the ability to travel visa-free to a total of 167 countries or destinations. Last year's first place finishers, Germany and Singapore, had to settle for second place this year as they offer visa-free travel to one fewer destination than the UAE at 166 countries.
Eleven countries tied for third place at 165 countries each, including Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Korea, and the U.S.
Taiwan rose two spots to tie with Ukraine at 28th in the latest rankings. Taiwan's passport holders may visit up to 131 countries without having to obtain a visa, an increase of 10 from last year. In East Asia, Taiwan ranked 7th, trailing only Brunei (18th), Hong Kong (14th), Malaysia (8th), Japan (5th), South Korea (4th), and Singapore (2nd).
Lagging far behind Taiwan is Communist China's passport, which ranks a lowly 58th on the index, with only 75 countries allowing its citizens visa-free entry.
Meanwhile, the country at the bottom of the rankings in last place was Afghanistan, with 29 visa-free countries, though this was an increase of seven countries compared to the previous ranking. Iraq retained its ranking as second worst at 32, though it improved by eight countries from the previous report, while Pakistan remained third worst with 35, despite seeing an increase of 10 countries for its passport.