Here's where Ireland ranks among the world's most powerful passports

Japan has the strongest passport in the world according to new Henley & Partners ranking

The Japanese passport is now the most powerful in the world, after it overtook Singapore in Henley Passport Index's fourth-quarter update, released on Wednesday (Oct 10).

Months after Japan beat out Singapore for the title of world's most popular passport, a refreshed ranking reveals the country to have defended its #1 title, despite the large number of visa-free agreements inked by both countries this year.

In third place was Germany, France, and South Korea, with 188 destinations accessible visa-free. Japanese passport holders have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to the most countries around the world.

Strengthening its position as the passport-power champion of the Middle East, the UAE signed a visa-waiver with Russian Federation in July, which is due to come into effect in the coming months.

Two countries are still at the bottom spot.

In July this year, Japan and Singapore were joint first, with access to 189 destinations after they both gained access to Uzbekistan.

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Russia received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver for Russian nationals, placing it at No. 47.

However, South Africa still ranks 3rd in Africa, after the Seychelles (25th strongest passport in the world, with 152 destinations) and Mauritius (31st strongest passport in the world, with 146 destinations).

China also climbed by 14 positions to 71, with access to 74 destinations since 2017.

The UAE, meanwhile, is now the strongest in the Middle East, jumping from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st in the 2018 index. Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI programme in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008.

The Henley Passport Index, according to its website, is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free. There are 218 countries in the world in total which require a visa.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says countries with citizenship-by-investment programs all fall within the top 50 of the index.

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