TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In its annual Passport Index ranking, the British consultancy firm Henley and Partners listed the Taiwan passport as the 35th strongest in the world, and the eighth strongest in the Asia-Pacific region.
There was a six-way tie for the top spot that included France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Spain. Passport holders from these countries can enter 194 countries without a visa or a visa on arrival.
There was a three-way tie for second place among Finland, South Korea, and Sweden. For third place, there was a four-way tie of Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan has the eighth most powerful passport, behind Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brunei, and Macau, according to the index. Taiwan towered over its neighbors China and the Philippines, which came in 62nd and 73rd place, respectively.
Taiwan passport holders can visit 143 countries, while China passport owners can visit 85 countries, 58 fewer countries. Philippine passport holders can only visit 69 countries without prior visa approval.
The weakest passport in the world is Afghanistan at 104th. This is followed by Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Palestinian territories, Nepal, and Libya.
Henley and Partners ranks 199 passports in terms of the number of countries their holders can enter without prior visa approval among 227 travel destinations, based on data provided by the Air Transport Association (ATA). The report points out that there is a growing gap in the freedom of travel among countries.
The report stated that "the global mobility gap between those at the top and bottom of the index is now wider than ever." In stark contrast to the 194 countries accessible to the first place nations, the Afghan passport only affords holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 28 destinations.