Citizens of Singapore now hold the most powerful passport in the world, according to the latest Global Passport Index rankings. The tropical island-nation with a population of 5.6 million is the first-ever Asian country to top the list.
Published by Arton Capital, a Canadian global consultancy firm, the Global Passport Index ranks nations in real time based on their visa-free score, which is curated by their freedom of visa-free and visa-upon-arrival privileges when traveling to a different country.
The higher the visa-free score, the more global mobility power a passport holder has. In addition, Arton uses the U.N.’s Development Programme Human Development Index, which rates countries on their perception abroad, to break ties, Forbes reports.
“It is a testament of Singapore's inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy,” said Philippe May, managing director of the firm’s Singapore office.
In recent months, Singapore and Germany have been tied for first place, but Singapore rose to the number one spot after Paraguay recently removed visa requirements, Arton Capital said on Oct. 25. Now, Singaporean passport-holders can smoothly cross borders into 159 nations without extra documentation.
Nevertheless, this shift is somewhat bad news for the U.S, which has now been bumped to the sixth tier on the Global Passport Index, a space it shares with Canada, Malaysia and Ireland.
"While Singapore quietly climbed the ranks, the U.S. passport has fallen down since President Donald Trump took office," Arton Capital said in a statement, via CNBC. Recently, Turkey and the Central African Republic have revoked visa-free privileges for Americans.
At present, Sweden and South Korea are tied for third place.
In years past, the most powerful passports have generally been held by western European countries, including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. But escalating nationalist sentiments have driven the countries, including the U.S., from the index’s top spots.
Travelers can view the full list of powerful passports here.