India secures 80th rank on Henley Passport Index

But is among the worst countries for allowing visa-free entry

July 19, 2023 10:28 pm | Updated 10:32 pm IST - NEW DELHI

India climbed to 80th rank from 87 last year on the  Henley Passport Index 2023 though the number of countries allowed visa-free access to Indian passport holders remain unchanged

India climbed to 80th rank from 87 last year on the  Henley Passport Index 2023 though the number of countries allowed visa-free access to Indian passport holders remain unchanged | Photo Credit: Getty Images

 India has climbed seven places on Henley Passport Index 2023 to 80th rank from 87 last year though the number of countries allowed visa-free access to Indian passport holders remain unchanged.

The Henley Passport Index is the ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations. The Index is brought out by Henley and Partners.

In 2014, India ranked 76 with 52 countries allowing Indian passport holders visa free access but its performance has not been linear. It ranked 88 in 2015 (visa free access to 51 countries), 85 in 2016, 87 in 2017, 81 in 2018, 82 in 2019 and 2020, and 81 in 2021.

Singapore on top

Japan, which occupied the top position on the Henley Passport Index for five years, dropped to the third place. It was replaced by Singapore, which is now officially the most powerful passport in the world, with its citizens able to visit 192 travel destinations out of 227 around the world visa-free. Germany, Italy, and Spain occupy the second place. Alongside Japan at the third position are Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden. The U.K. climbed two places to occupy the fourth place, while the U.S. continued its decade-long slide down the index, dropping two places to the eighth spot. Both the U.K. and the U.S. jointly held the first place on the index nearly 10 years ago in 2014.

Henley & Partners also conducted an exclusive new research resulting in the Henley Openness Index which measures how many nations does a country allow visa-free access to. Here, India was ranked 94 out of a total of 97 ranks for allowing only four countries visa-free access. At the bottom of the Index were four countries for scoring zero for not permitting visa-free access for any passport — namely, Afghanistan, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, and Turkmenistan.

‘Most open’ countries

The Top 20 ‘most open’ countries are all small island nations or African states, except for Cambodia. There are 12 completely open countries that offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to all 198 passports in the world (not counting their own), namely: Burundi, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Micronesia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu.

Gulf Cooperation Council countries have generally displayed higher-than-average shifts towards increased openness, in particular, the UAE’s openness score increased from 58 to 80 since 2018 (22 points) and Oman’s leapt from 71 to 106 (35 points) over the same period.

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