Which countries have the best passports? Most are in Europe

Which countries have the best passports? Most are in Europe


A new index ranks Luxembourg as the top passport in the world for aspiring global citizens.  

The small European country ranked No. 1 out of 199 places in the “Nomad Passport Index 2022” published by the tax and immigration consultancy Nomad Capitalist.

While many passport rankings focus solely on visa-free travel, this index adds taxation, global perception, ability to obtain dual citizenship and personal freedoms into its scoring.

“I don’t think visa-free travel is all that matters,” said CEO Andrew Henderson.

For example, U.S. and Canadian passports are similar in terms of travel strength, he said. However, “if you’re an American, you’re subject to taxes … no matter where you live, and so those two passports should not be ranked next to each other.”

Five factors

Here is the index’s methodology:

Regarding tax policies, 10 points were assigned to places with worldwide taxation (United States) and 50 points for those with no tax (United Arab Emirates). Those that placed other tax restrictions on passport holders scored somewhere in between.

The list

What changed in the past year?

Nearly 85% of the places in the top 30 list are in Europe.

What’s notable, said Henderson, is that countries like Malta, Iceland and Slovakia — places “that people don’t often talk about” in terms of passport strength — hold their own against powerhouses such as Italy and Germany. They also score above countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and United States.

Australia was docked points for restricting its citizens from entering the country during the pandemic, said Henderson.

Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A ‘passport portfolio’

It’s not necessarily the case that the higher a country’s passport ranking, the more suitable it is for someone looking to obtain a second or third citizenship there, said Henderson.

People generally build a “passport portfolio” for one of two reasons: to reduce their taxes or to have a back-up residency plan. A Luxembourg citizenship likely won’t serve either of these groups, he said.

Singapore, the only non-European country on the top 10 list, is perceived well around the globe, said Henderson. “Who doesn’t like Singapore?” he said.

Nutthavood Punpeng | Moment | Getty Images

But citizenship in Portugal, the Caribbean or Malta may — especially for people in the second group.  

The index also demonstrates that some countries’ passports are stronger than people realize.

“There are passports that people don’t realize are actually pretty good,” he said. “Malaysia barely beats out the United States, which is very interesting … Everyone I’ve ever met from Central America doesn’t like their passport … [but] Central American passports are actually pretty good quality.”

Correction: This report has been updated because an earlier photo caption inadvertently gave the wrong name for Andrew Henderson.



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Author: Shirley