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Your U.S. Passport Is Far From No. 1

Your U.S. Passport Is Far From No. 1

I just realized something … I’ve developed an addiction.

It begins with something innocuous. A friend makes a comment about wanting to visit, say, Germany at some point.

We talk about all of the exciting places to visit there. How Berlin is a must-see for its rich history, 630-acre Tiergarten Park and vibrant and lively festivals, like the Carnival of Cultures.

A couple of weeks later, I see a news article about something random, yet related to Germany.

The travel talk comes up again, this time more serious.

Cue a few months later, and I’m staring at one of my favorite computer screens in the world. The one where it says, in big, bold letters: Booking completed!

There’s no feeling in the world quite like knowing you’re about to go on an adventure. Be it a new restaurant, city, country or someplace else, the feeling of exploring the unknown is just, well, addicting.

But unlike exploring a new restaurant … a bit of preparation is required to explore a new country.

Your U.S. passport covers about 80% of the world you can visit without getting tied up in paperwork. But it isn’t the most powerful one out there.

Arguably the most important part: your passport.

I’ve put off renewing my passport for too long. Now I’m rushing to make sure I have it ready before I take off for Germany later this year.

And as I’m going through this process, I’m reminded of the power within this little 4.9-inch-by-3.4-inch blue rectangle.

But as powerful as this U.S. passport is … it isn’t the most powerful one out there.

Sure, it allows us to visit about 164 countries without needing to set up a visa. More specifically, it allows Americans to visit 116 countries completely visa-free, and 48 countries where we receive a visa at arrival.

That sounds like a lot of places, right?

With over 200 possible destinations, that covers about 80% of the world you can visit without getting tied up in paperwork.

That should mean it’s a powerful blue rectangle.

But if you view the Passport Index, an easily accessible online tool that collects data from 193 countries and six territories, you’ll see that’s not the case. Arton Capital, the global financial advisory firm that sponsors this list, updates it in real time.

And according to it, the No. 1 passport in the world is from Singapore, with a score of 165. This passport grants holders access to 127 countries visa-free. And it lets Singaporeans into 38 countries that require one upon arrival.

This isn’t a huge surprise since it came in right behind South Korea in the 2017 list. Singapore is closely followed by Germany now, as you can see in this screenshot below.

Your U.S. passport covers about 80% of the world you can visit without getting tied up in paperwork. But it isn’t the most powerful one out there.

So where does the U.S. stand?

Well, if you were to scroll a bit further, you’d see it’s in the Power Rank 2 group. Overall, though, it’s 13th on the list — right after South Korea, which fell a bit this year.

That’s not terrible. But with access to only 116 countries completely visa-free, the U.S. still has much more room to grow. And there’s always the possibility that we’ll fall significantly in our ranking. (We’ve done it before.)

So I urge you to take a moment to do some research on this before you travel — whether it’s for vacation, or you’re looking for a second residency. It never hurts to gain a little more knowledge in this space.

Catch you next week.


Jessica Cohn-Kleinberg

Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing

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