The Henley Passport Index, created by worldwide citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners in London, bills itself as the “original ranking of all the world’s passports.”
One must have a valid passport and visa in order to take advantage of hassle-free flight travel. After all, a passport’s validity is supposed to give its possessor more access to and mobility in international markets and economies.
As a result, there is some good news for regular travellers, as India has moved up two spots from last year’s 87th position to 85th place in the 2023 Henley Passport Index, which assesses passports based on their power and mobility. A person with an Indian passport had visa-free entry to 60 countries last year; this year, they can enter 59.
India performs poorly, according to Henley Passport Index’s data, despite having the fifth-largest economy in the world: its passport holders may only access 59 nations worldwide and 6.7% of the global GDP, of which the country’s GDP makes up about half.
While India has improved from last year, when the Indian passport was rated 87, the number of nations to which Indian passport holders have easy access has decreased by one. Indian citizens who hold passports no longer qualify for Serbian visa-free entry due to rising immigration. Indian passport holders will no longer be able to visit the country without a visa for 90 days starting January 1, 2023, but they will still need to apply for one.
59 countries, including Bhutan, Indonesia, Macao, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iran, and Qatar, do not require visas for bearers of Indian passports. However, some nations demand a visa upon arrival.
Notably, India has seen a significant change in the passport index since 2018. Rankings have consistently fallen between 80 and 87, with easy access to 55 to 60 nations. However, only 49 nations were easily accessible to India in 2017. Then it added 10 additional nations a year later. Before this time, India enjoyed constant, simple access to 50–52 nations.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which oversees international airline cooperation, provided the data for the index. The Henley Passport Index is updated four times a year to reflect changes in visa regulations. It includes 199 passports and 227 destinations.
According to the Henley Passport Index, 227 different travel locations accept 199 passports without needing a visa. A score of 1 is generated for that passport if a visa is not necessary. The same holds true if you are able to secure a visa, visitor’s permission, or electronic travel authority (ETA) upon arrival.
Financial writer and global investment expert Jeff Opdyke commenting on Henley Passport Index said that a stronger passport means “greater financial freedoms in terms of investing and entrepreneurial opportunities”.
The Henley website states that the strongest is determined by the number of nations holders of a passport can enter without a visa or with one issued at the airport. The top 10 strongest passports in the world are shown below:
1. Japan (193)
2. Singapore and South Korea (192)
3. Germany/Spain (190)
4. Luxembourg, Italy, and Finland (189)
5. Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Austria (188)
6. France, Ireland, Portugal, and the UK (187)
7. Belgium, the Czech Republic, the United States, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland (186)
8. Malta, Australia, Canada, Greece (185)
9. Poland/Hungary (184)
10. Lithuania and Slovakia (183)
The 10 countries at the bottom of the list are Sudan/Sri Lanka (42), Kosovo, Bangladesh, Libya (41), North Korea (40), Palestinian Territory/Nepal (38), Somalia (35), Yemen (34), Pakistan (32), Syria (30), Iraq (29), and Afghanistan (27).