What makes some passports powerful and distinguishes them from others? Many don’t know that different indexes rank passports according to their tailored methodology. The easy travel associated with the passport, but also the investment opportunities associated with acquiring it, along with the quality of living.
Global mobility plays a significant role in determining the power rank of a passport. In 2020, the most powerful passports were Germany and Sweden. However, as an unintended consequence, COVID-19 reordered how passports are ranked based on the number of countries to which they allow visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel. In 2022, according to the Passport Index, the world’s most powerful passport is the UAE passport, with a mobility score of 166, allowing visa-free travel to 107 countries.
Meeting three conditions
Where does this ranking come from, and how is it determined? The methodology is based on 193 UN member states and six territories, whose data is provided by governments, and updated through intelligence obtained through extensive research from highly credible sources. The Index combines a three-step method to determine the ranking of a passport. The first is the mobility score - whether the passport allows you to travel without a visa, obtain a visa on arrival, get an eTA and eVisa, or if the visa can be issued within three days. The second step is weighing the visa-free portion of their score against the visa on arrival aspect.
Lastly, the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index is used as a tie-breaker as it is seen as a significant measure of the country’s perception globally. With a power rank of three, Portugal is a country with a strong passport residency-by-investment destination, a Portuguese passport can be secured without having to live in that country. With a mobility score of 161 and visa-free travel to 110 countries and visa on arrival to 45 countries, Portugal is a valuable and strong passport.
The Global Passport Index considers not only how travel-friendly a passport is but ranks the investment index and the quality of life as well. While the US is ranked first on the overall global index, Singapore is top-ranked in the enhanced mobility and investment indices. Portugal is ranked eighth in enhanced mobility and 12th in terms of quality of life.
Investment opportunities and quality of living are key determinants of how powerful and strong a passport is. This makes it very appealing for foreign investors to invest in a country and gain a second passport. We have witnessed a steady increase in people investing in passports, particularly after the pandemic.