Brunei passport third most powerful in ASEAN

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam’s passport is the 28th most powerful in the world, according to a new global passport ranking. The sultanate also currently boasts the third most powerful passport in Southeast Asia, as its residents can travel to 82 countries.

The Passport Index ranks passports based on where citizens who hold them can travel. This includes looking at where they can travel visa-free, or where tourist visas apply. The ranking covers 193 United Nations (UN) countries, as well as six other territories.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been new travel restrictions put in place.

Currently, travel is chaos. Global mobility has reached an all-time low, and continuous changes with visa regulations have blurred all the information surrounding travel restrictions.

Evidently, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to global mobility, hindering international travel and rendering passport powers to an all-time low.

COVID-19 has caused a historic dive in the World Openness Score (WOS); Passport Index’ benchmark of open travel between countries. There has been a 65 per cent decrease in World Openness.

New Zealand currently boasts the world’s most powerful passport, as its residents can travel to 129 countries. Eight other countries took the second spot on the list of 127 countries available for travelling, namely Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

In a similar survey last year, the Bruneian passport was regarded as one of the biggest winners in the Global Passport Index, achieving the best net score for nine visa waivers gained or lost, and one of the fastest growing passports for 2019.

The report also found that Brunei has the 16th most powerful passport worldwide, with a Mobility Score of 153, giving its citizens the ability to travel visa-free to a total of 153 countries or destinations.