Explained: What is passport power and what does India’s improved ranking mean for travellers? | Travel - Hindustan Times
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Explained: What is passport power and what does India’s improved ranking mean for travellers?

Aug 02, 2023 10:02 PM IST

Passport power is a crucial factor that determines a country’s ability to facilitate hassle-free international travel for its citizens. The Henley Passport Index, a widely recognized ranking system, evaluates passports from around the world based on the number of visa-free destinations they grant access to. Recently, Singapore claimed the top spot, while India witnessed a notable rise in its ranking, reflecting its improving global mobility.

Passport power refers to the strength and flexibility of a nation’s passport in enabling its citizens to travel internationally without requiring a visa.

 (Agus Dietrich)
(Agus Dietrich)

According to Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, “Powerful passports are far more than just useful travel documents that define our ease of cross-border movement. They also enhance our economic mobility in terms of accessing international investment and business opportunities. By the same token, countries with more open borders encourage greater economic activity and tourism, resulting in increased entrepreneurship, innovation, and investment, which ultimately drive economic growth.”

THE HENLEY PASSPORT INDEX AND RANKING METHOD

The Henley Passport Index is a comprehensive ranking system compiled by Henley & Partners, a London-based immigration consultancy. It assesses the travel freedom of passports by analyzing the number of countries that passport holders can visit visa-free or with visa-on-arrival.

In the latest Henley Passport Index, India experienced a significant improvement, climbing five places to secure the 80th position. Presently, Indian passport holders can access 57 destinations without a visa, reflecting the country’s growing global engagement. Notably, travellers from India enjoy visa-free entry and visas on arrival in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Rwanda, facilitating smoother journeys.

However, India’s passport power is still limited due to the high visa requirements imposed by several countries. Citizens of India need visas to enter 177 destinations, including prominent nations like China, Japan, Russia, the United States, and the entire European Union. This high visa dependency hampers India’s overall mobility score, affecting its rankings.

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