| Azlan Othman |
BRUNEIANS hold the world’s 18th most powerful passport, which is an increase of four spots from its previous ranking on Arton Capital’s passport index of last year. Brunei ties with Barbados at 18th in the latest rankings.
Financial advisory firm Arton Capital releases the study every year, on the strength of the world’s passports based on the number of countries that citizens can travel to without having to apply for a visa.
According to the recent update, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was ranked as the most powerful passport, giving its citizens the ability to travel visa-free to a total of 167 countries or destinations.
Last year’s first-place finishers, Germany and Singapore, had to settle for second place this year.
Eleven countries tied for third place at 165 countries each, including Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Korea, and the United States of America.
Brunei’s passport holders may visit up to 144 countries without having to obtain visas. In East Asia, Singapore ranked 2nd, South Korea 4th, Japan 5th, Malaysia 8th and Hong Kong 14th.
Meanwhile, the country at the bottom of the rankings in last place was Afghanistan.
Iraq retained its ranking as second worst at 32, though it has improved by eight countries from the previous report.
Global advisory firm Arton Capital’s Passport Index ranks countries’ passports according to the cross-border access they bring, assigning a ‘visa-free score’ based on the number of countries a passport holder can visit without a visa or with a visa on arrival.
In October this year, the Brunei passport came in the 20th most powerful in the world, according to the Henley Passport Index for 2018, after improving two places from last year’s report.
The Sultanate enjoys visa-free/visa on arrival access to 165 destinations.
The index – compiled by Henley and Partners, a global residence and citizenship advisory firm headquartered in London – ranks the world’s passports according to the number of countries or states their holders can travel to visa-free.