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Some passports are better than others. Here's a list of the most powerful ones

Some passports are better than others. Here's a list of the most powerful ones

Luxembourg, one of the smallest countries in Europe, tops a new passport index that analyzes factors that affect global citizens.

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:

Visa-free travel50%The ability to travel easily
Taxation of citizens20%Tax reach and restrictions on passport holders
Global perception10%How countries are viewed around the world
Dual citizenship10%Ability to hold dual citizenship, from forbidden (China) to freely allowed (Canada)
Personal freedom10%Factors include press freedom, government surveillance and mandatory military service



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

1Luxembourg18930505050116
2Sweden18830505050115
3Ireland18730505050115
4TBelgium18630505050114
4TSwitzerland18630505050114
6TFinland18920505050114
6TPortugal18730405050114
6TCzech Republic18530505050114
9TNetherlands18830503050113
9TSingapore19240501030113
11Italy18930405030113
12TDenmark18820505040112
12TAustria18830502050112
12TGermany19020504040112
12TFrance18820505040112
12TSouth Korea19030503030112
17Malta18530305050112
18TIceland18030505050111
18TNorway18620504050111
18TNew Zealand18620505040111
18TSlovakia18230505040111
18TJapan19220502040111
23TLatvia18130405050111
23TSpain18920405030111
25Lithuania18230503050110
26TUnited Kingdom18530305030110
26TGreece18520405040110
26TCanada18520405040110
29Liechtenstein17830504050109
30Slovenia18130503040109
31Cyprus17630405050108
32THungary18330205030108
32TEstonia18130502040108
32TAustralia18520305030108
32TUnited Arab Emirates17550402040108
36TRomania17430405050107
36TMonaco17450401050107
36TChile17430505040107
39TPoland18320305030107
39TMalaysia17940402030107
41United States18610304030105
42TBulgaria17330405030105
42TCroatia17320505040105
44TAndorra16830402050101
44THong Kong17440201030101
46TSan Marino16930401050101
46TSt. Kitts and Nevis15750305040101
46TBrazil16920405030101
49TArgentina17020305030100
49TBrunei16650301030


The top 10 rankings remained unchanged from last year, with the half-point difference between No. 1 Luxembourg and No. 2 Sweden coming down to “one extra country visa,” said Henderson.

Taxes are high in both countries, “but if you want to leave, it’s relatively flexible,” he said. Both countries are perceived well globally and rank highly for personal freedom, said Henderson, noting Sweden demonstrated the latter with its hands-off approach to the pandemic.

The complete list can be viewed at Nomad Capitalist’s website.

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.

Vanuatu slipped from tied for 69th place in 2021 to 85th this year, after the Council of the European Union partially suspended its visa waiver agreement with the island nation earlier this month. The decision was prompted by concerns that Vanuatu’s investor citizenship schemes — which allow people to obtain citizenship in exchange for $130,000 investments in the islands — posed a security threat to the EU, according to the Council’s website.

Citizenship was granted to people on the Interpol database and rejection rates were “extremely low,” according to the website.

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.

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.”


For more info, contact Nomad Capitalist.

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