This is now the world’s most powerful passport for travel freedom

Japan has the strongest passport in the world according to new Henley & Partners ranking

Japan now has the world's most powerful passport

This is according to Henley & Partners' latest Passport Index which ranked South Africa 52nd in the world in 2018, with South Africans able to access 102 destinations around the world visa-free or with a visa on arrival.

Japan surged to the top of the latest list because earlier this month, Myanmar became the 190 country to give Japanese visitors a visa waiver, the Liberty Times reported.

South Korea gained visa-free access to Myanmar on October 1, while Paraguay removed visa requirements for Singaporean passport holders in 2017.

In third place are Germany, South Korea and France, and the United Kingdom and the U.S. slid from fourth to fifth place, granting their citizens easy access to 186 destinations.

Filipinos now have visa-free access to ASEAN nation-states, and several other countries. The law firm says it updates the index in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect.

Since being ranked in 62nd place in 2006, the country has made the fastest leaps on the list, rising to the 21st spot in 2018.

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Russia received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver for Russian nationals (valid until July 2019), but the country has nonetheless fallen from 46th to 47th place compared to Q3, because of movements higher up in the ranking. All three countries can visit 188 countries without a visa.

However, South Africa still ranks 3rd in Africa, after the Seychelles (25th strongest passport in the world, with 152 destinations) and Mauritius (31st strongest passport in the world, with 146 destinations).

What has been most remarkable in recent years is the UAE's stunning ascent on the Henley Passport Index, from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place worldwide now.

Iraq and Afghanistan continue to sit at the bottom of the Index. Newcomer Moldova, due to launch its CBI program in November, climbed 20 places since 2008. Every CBI program country has improved its visa-free/visa-on-arrival score since the start of the year.

The Henley Passport Index, according to its website, is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.

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