Canada lands on list of most powerful passports
A Canadian Passport is displayed in Ottawa on Thursday, July 23, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Published Tuesday, March 1, 2016 2:41PM EST
German passport holders have emerged the most mobile travellers, with visa-free access to more countries than any other passport holder in the world.
According to the results of a new ranking by Henley & Partners, Germany boasts the world's most powerful passport, with passport holders able to travel visa-free to 177 countries out of 218 studied.
The report comes at an important crux in history. A time when the world faces the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, and Germany, in particular, has implemented a controversial open-door policy, receiving among the largest number of asylum-seekers in the world.
In addition to revealing the most mobile countries, the index also reflects a country's relationship with others and their diplomatic position on the world stage.
The top 10 spots are occupied mostly by European countries, with Sweden placing second, and Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the U.K. tying for third spot.
Overall, researchers said they found a significant amount of shuffling in this year's edition of the Visa Restrictions Index, with only 21 of the 199 countries remaining in the same rank as last year.
The highest climber was the Southeast Asian nation of Timor Leste, which rose 33 spots on the index, followed by Colombia (+25 spots); Palau (+20 spots) and Tonga (+16 spots).
Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan are at the bottom of the heap.
To compile the index, the residence and citizenship planning firm consulted data from the International Air Transport Association.
Countries are ranked according to the total number of other countries which they can access visa-free.
Here are the most powerful passports for 2016 according to Henley & Partners:
1. Germany, 177 countries
2. Sweden, 176
3. Finland, France, Italy, Spain, UK, 175
4. Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, US, 174
5. Austria, Japan, Singapore, 173
6. Canada, Ireland, South Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, 172
7. Greece, New Zealand, 171
8. Australia, 169
9. Malta, 168
10. Hungary, Czech Republic, Iceland, 167