Singapore passport top in Asia for visa-free access
By Lester Wong
17 March 2017

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ ANN) - Republic pulls ahead of Japan to take fourth place in global passport ranking. 

Against a global trend of decreased travel freedom, the Singapore passport continues to be widely accepted, reaching its highest ranking of No. 4 in this year's Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index.

The Singapore passport broke a tie with fifth-placed Japan to move up from last year's ranking of No. 5.

Singapore is now the highest- ranked Asian nation, after Japan lost visa-free access to one country which Henley & Partners, a consultancy firm specialising in residence and citizenship planning, did not identify.

The number of countries and territories that Singapore passport holders enjoy visa-free access to has remained unchanged from last year at 173, putting it level with seven other countries, including Britain and France.

Germany (176) and Sweden (175) retained their first and second positions respectively from last year, although both also lost visa-free access to one country.

Singapore's move up the ranks comes as 10 out of 18 countries in the top five this year lost visa-free access to one or two countries.

The bottom three - Pakistan (28), Iraq (27) and Afghanistan (24) - were unchanged, but all three also saw their visa-free access number fall from last year.

"We have witnessed several major events recently that are likely to have an impact on global mobility - including Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump," said Henley & Partners chairman Christian Kalin.

"This trend towards curbing travel freedom is already apparent in the shift in rankings on this year's Visa Restrictions Index."

The index, produced with the International Air Transport Association, considers 219 countries and territories.

Another global passport index placed Singapore second in January, with Germany again taking top spot.

Arton Capital's Passport Index looked at 193 United Nations member countries and six territories.

The scores are calculated differently from the Visa Restrictions Index, with the Passport Index also considering countries where passport-holders can obtain a visa upon arrival.

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