Hong Kong Passport Ranks 18th Globally for Travel Freedom

Japan ranks 1st, the UK ranks 6th, and Taiwan ranks 34th
By Ruth Lee
Ruth Lee
Ruth Lee
July 24, 2022 Updated: July 24, 2022

The Hong Kong passport ranked 18th among the world’s best travel documents, with hassle-free entry to 171 destinations, according to the latest ranking by London-based immigration consulting firm Henley & Partners.

The Japanese passport once again ranked first, providing hassle-free entry to 193 countries.

Singapore and South Korea share second place with hassle-free entry to 192 countries. Passport holders from these countries can visit 192 destinations with visa-free or visa-on-demand access worldwide.

Taiwan ranked 34th with 145 visa-free destinations, while China ranked 69th with 80 visa-free destinations.

Released on July 19, the quarterly report ranks each country’s passport according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The Henley Passport Index compares the visa-free access of 199 different passports to 227 travel destinations.

The United Kingdom and the United States ranked sixth and seventh with hassle-free access to 187 and 186 countries, respectively.

Canada, Australia, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Malta all shared eighth place in the ranking.

In a July 19 release announcing the rankings, Henley & Partners said research conducted by comparing a country’s visa-free access with its Global Peace Index score showed a strong correlation between a nation’s passport power and its peacefulness.

Lowest-Ranked

The lowest-ranking nations were mostly represented by non-democratic countries, with Afghanistan having the lowest score of 27 destinations available with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access.

Stephen Klimczuk-Massion, a fellow at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, said in the release that the value of a passport has taken on new significance in light of increased global turbulence due to factors such as the pandemic, war, inflation, and political instability.

“Now more than ever, it’s a mistake to think of a passport as merely a travel document that allows you to get from A to B,” he said.

“The relative strength or weakness of a particular national passport directly affects the quality of life for the passport holder and may even be a matter of life and death in some circumstances.”

The release also noted that passport holders with the greatest global access, namely those hailing from the Asia-Pacific region, are the “most restricted and reluctant to enjoy their travel freedom,” based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

International passenger demand in the Asia-Pacific region has only reached 17 percent of pre-COVID levels, the statement said. In the past two years, demand in the region has hovered at around 10 percent, while Europe and North America have recovered to about 60 percent of pre-pandemic international travel levels.

Bogdan Diordiev contributed to this report.

Ruth Lee