There was a time long ago when getting from point A to B was as simple as boarding a ship or wagon and just, well, getting there. If you wanted to move from Europe to America, all you really had to worry about was braving the seasickness and consequent change of culture and climate. Nowadays, however, things are a bit more complicated. Tons of paperwork, lots of money, signatures, stamps from embassies and more bureaucratic nightmares come into play as we sweat and stress to get a valid visa for country of entry, country of departure and sometimes country-in-between. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone.
Citizens of certain countries, it seems, can merely flash their passports at the man sitting behind the counter at border control and have a red carpet rolled out just for them. What gives? Well, visa-waiver agreements, that’s what. Certain agreements between different governments means that citizens are able to pass more freely between their respective borders. At one point in time, having a US passport, or one from the UK or Europe was seen as something of a holy grail, allowing the holder to pass visa-free across multiple territories. Now, what with Brexit, Trump and the like, this isn’t necessarily the case. So, which country – according to Henley & Partners – has the most ‘powerful’ passport? Let’s find out.
Traditionally, Schengen Area countries across Europe have enjoyed a top spot in the index, thanks to their open-access policies across the majority of Europe. For a long time, Germany held the number 1 spot in the world, with visa-free access to myriad countries across the globe: 188, as a matter of fact. Now that you’re thinking about it, you’d probably always wondered why it seemed that German tourists were able to find their way to every destination you’d ever visited. Well, now it makes sense – if you came from a first world country and didn’t need a visa to visit almost anywhere, you’d also don a backpack and make tracks.
UK passport holders came in at a close second, being able to visit 186 countries without red tape or visas. Again, it’s not surprising that many citizens of commonwealth countries would covet the famed British Passport – even if just for the travel benefits it offers. While we’re not here to discuss the implications of Brexit, one of them may well be the fact that having a British passport isn’t really the be-all-and-end-all anymore.
Asia Acing It
The beginning of 2018 saw 40 countries across Asia signing new visa-waiver agreements, which resulted in a number of Asian countries blasting their way onto the charts. Most of Asia has always offered less of a hassle in terms of visa procurement, and now developed Asian countries have secured high scores thanks to strong international and diplomatic relations. Probably due to the high demand for foreign trade and even English learning, plenty of Asian countries have made it easy for passport-holders of ‘English-speaking’ countries to enter their borders. So, as of now, Singapore has knocked the UK down to the number 3 spot on the list, with another Asian country claiming the title as number one.
And the Winner is…
Japan. Passport-holders from the Land of the Rising Sun are able to visit 189 out of a possible 218 countries – visa free. Again, now you know why camera-happy Japanese tourists seem to make their way to every favourable (and even unfavourable, why not) landmark in the world. Wouldn’t you? There’s so much to see and do out there in the world, it would be a shame to stay at home. Of course, there is one activity that we can think of that is enjoyable whether you’re doing it at home or on the go (or waiting for your flight) – Playing casino games. Be it roulette, poker, blackjack or even a host of online slots, we recommend getting your game on at Vegas Palms Casino. After all, you’ll need to kill some time while waiting for your visa to come through.