Singapore Claims the Title of World’s Most Powerful Passport

October 26, 2017, 10:06 AM UTC

The Singapore passport is officially the world’s most powerful.

It earned the title following Paraguay’s recent decision to remove the visa requirements for Singaporean passport holders, propelling the tiny Asian island’s travel document to first place on the Passport Index, an honor it previously shared with Germany, according to CNN.

Paraguay’s removal of visa requirements means Singaporean passport holders can show up in Paraguay, acquire a stamp upon arrival, and legally reside in the country for 30 days without any further application processes, according to the Paraguay consulate in Washington, D.C.

The change means travelers with a Singapore passport can now visit 159 countries—the most globally—by getting a visa upon arrival or—in many cases—they can enter visa-free.

The Passport Index is a free online tool that sorts and ranks the world’s passports by their cross-border access; it was created by international residence and citizenship advisory firm Arton Capital. Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office, told CNN the news marks the first time an Asian country has held the most powerful passport in the world.

“Singapore has constantly increased its passport strength since it became independent in 1965,” he said. “This due to a smart and far-sighted foreign policy, excellent diplomacy and by understanding globalization as an opportunity. Unlike Schengen member countries [in Europe], Singapore decides alone who to grant visa-free access.”

While countries like Singapore have slowly climbed the passport ranks, countries like the U.S. have slipped, particularly owing to tensions that have recently surfaced. The U.S. and Turkey dispute, for instance, resulted in the suspension of visas. The U.S. is now in the sixth tier, having been surpassed by countries like Denmark, France, South Korea, and Sweden.