New Zealand passport ranked as most powerful in updated report

New Zealand’s passport is now the most powerful in the world, according to the latest Global Passport Index compiled by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital.

The index ranks each country’s passport based on its “mobility score” — i.e., the number of countries the passport grants access to — and New Zealand’s has recently edged ahead with 129, after Australia agreed to reopen travel with the country earlier this month.

The new rankings, powered by Arton Capital, list New Zealand's passport as having the highest "mobility score" —  i.e., the number of countries the passport grants access to.

The new rankings, powered by Arton Capital, list New Zealand’s passport as having the highest “mobility score” —  i.e., the number of countries the passport grants access to. (iStock)

It’s been a tumultuous year for global travel, however, and none of the recognized passports from the index (which includes those of the 193 United Nations countries) were spared amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as nations restricted travel or closed borders to foreigners. For reference, the same Index ranked the United Arab Emirates as having the most powerful passport in 2019, as it granted access to 179 countries.

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The Global Passport Index’s latest rankings, meanwhile, have placed New Zealand in the top spot, while eight countries trail behind in a tie for second place, with access to 128 countries: Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Sweden, Belgium, France, Finland, Italy and Spain share a joint third place, with mobility scores of 127.

The U.S. passport currently ranks 21st (and behind 51 other countries) on Arton Capital’s list, with access to 92 countries. Iraq and Afghanistan’s passports are currently in joint last place, with mobility scores of 31 each.

Earlier in May, Arton Capital recognized the “reshuffling” of the rankings amid the pandemic, and even claimed to observe a “rock-bottom for global mobility” at the time, citing temporary travel bans and border shutdowns as the main reason.

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Arton Capital originally began publishing its Global Passport Index in 2014, using its own proprietary research, according to the firm.

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