Henley Passport Index 2023 is out and where does India rank?

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadJan 11, 2023 | 09:56

Henley Passport Index 2023 is out and where does India rank?

India climbs two places on Henley passport ranking without much gain. GIF: DailyO

Your passport is the deciding factor at several places on whether you get held up for long or dismissed fast at the immigration check when you travel abroad (mostly for racist reasons). It also decides how you can travel to different countries and whether you will be entangled in red tape or breeze into the airport without planning.


Here's the list of the top 10 strongest passports in the world:

1. Japan (193)

2. Singapore/South Korea (192)

3. Germany/Spain (190)

4. Finland/Italy/Luxembourg (189)

5. Austria/Denmark/Netherlands/Sweden (188)

6. France/Ireland/Portugal/United Kingdom (187)

7. Belgium/Czech Republic/New Zealand/Norway/Switzerland/United States (186)

8. Australia/Canada/Greece/Malta (185)

9. Hungary/Poland (184)

10. Lithuania/Slovakia (183)

The strongest is defined by the number of countries people with a passport can visit visa-free/visa-on-arrival.  

For the fifth year running, Japan crowns the Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive and official data from the IATA.
- Henley Passport Index

Now, here's the list of 10 countries that fall in the bottom 10: 

100. Sri Lanka/Sudan (42)

101. Bangladesh/Kosovo/Libya (41)

102. North Korea (40 including Bangladesh, and Nepal in Asia)

103. Nepal/Palestinian Territory (38)

104. Somalia (35)

105. Yemen (34) 

106. Pakistan (32)

107. Syria (30)

108. Iraq (29)

109. Afghanistan (27)

People with passports from these countries can only visit a handful of other countries easily. But it's surprising to see that the North Korean passport has a better ranking than the Pakistani or Nepali passport with access to 40 countries.

But where does India rank? The Indian passport ranks 85th on the Henley Passport ranking with easy access to 59 countries.

  • It is a few places higher than last year when the Indian passport was ranked 87. But the number of countries Indian passport holders can go easily has decreased by one. In 2022, there were 60 countries where the Indian passport allowed easy access. 
  • The biggest change this time for the Indian passport has been losing visa-free access to Serbia. Starting January 1, 2023, Indian passport holders now need to apply for a visa to enter the country unlike earlier which allowed visa-free travel to the country for 90 days. Increasing migration has been cited as the reason. 
  • From 2018 onwards there has not been much change for India on the passport index. Always falling between 80-87 in ranking with easy access to 59-60 countries. 
  • However, in 2017, India has easy access to only 49 countries. And a year later, it added 10 more countries. Before this period, India had steady easy access to 50-52 countries. 

So, is the Indian passport strong enough? Henley Passport Index's analysis for Indian passport ranking isn't great: 

India fares even worse, despite having the world's fifth-largest economy: its passport holders can access just 59 destinations worldwide and only 6.7% of global GDP, of which the country's own GDP accounts for around half.
- Henley Passport Index

Here are the countries where Indian passport holders can visit visa-free/visa-on-arrival:

Why is this ranking important? The strength of a passport provides its holders access and mobility to foreign markets and economies. For international business persons and investors, this can substantially affect their business outcomes. 

Take the Japanese passport, for instance, that gives visa-free access to 193 destinations (85% of the world). Collectively, these countries account for a whopping 98% of the global economy (with Japan's own GDP contribution being around 5%).
- Henley Passport Index

Financial writer and global investment expert Jeff Opdyke commenting on Henley Passport Index said that a stronger passport means "greater financial freedoms in terms of investing and entrepreneurial opportunities".

Last updated: January 11, 2023 | 10:30
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