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Ireland has one of the most "powerful" passports for getting through airports

We can go to almost anywhere.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

YOU MIGHT BE forgiven for thinking that Brits or Americans have the most powerful passport in the world.

But a new index by the British immigration and citizenship firm Henley & Partners suggests otherwise – and puts Ireland right up there.

According to Henley & Partners’ Visa Restrictions Index, Germans hold the strongest passports, giving them visa-free access to 177 countries.

It has held the index’s top spot for three years in a row.

The index ranked 199 countries according to the travel freedom each offers its citizens out of a possible 218 countries, using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

According to the index, the IATA holds the largest database of travel information.

Nationalities were awarded points based on the number of other countries their citizens could travel to without a visa, as of 1 January.

Sweden came in second place, with visa-free access to 176 countries. The United Kingdom, which held the top spot in the ranking from 2013 to 2015 (including twice tying Germany), came in third place along with Finland, France, Italy, and Spain, with 175 countries at passport holders’ fingertips.

The United States dropped from second place in 2015 to fourth place this year, tied with Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands, all of which offer access to 174 countries.

As for nations with the most limited travel, Afghanistan is ranked the worst in 104th place, with access to just 25 countries. Pakistan is second-worst, with travel permitted to 29 countries, and Iraq is third from the bottom, restricted to 30 other countries.

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Here is the top 10:

Rank, country, visa-free access

  • 1. Germany, 177
  • 2. Sweden, 176
  • 3. Finland, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, 175
  • 4. Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, United States, 174
  • 5. Austria, Japan, Singapore, 173
  • 6. Canada, Ireland, South Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, 172
  • 7. Greece, New Zealand, 171
  • 8. Australia, 169
  • 9. Malta, 168
  • 10. Hungary, Czech Republic, Iceland, 167

Take a look at the graphic showing the index findings, and download the complete ranking here.

Read: New UK passport design (featuring just two women) sparks sexism row

Read: Dublin’s Passport Office to move next year

Published with permission from:

Business Insider
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