May 22, 2018 3:00 pm
Updated: May 23, 2018 10:44 am

Here’s where Canada ranks on list of world’s most powerful passports

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The Canadian passport is among the strongest in the world, according to an index released Tuesday.

But it’s not the most powerful — that spot goes to Japan.

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The Henley Passport Index measures how powerful the national identifications are based on how many countries citizens can access without a visa. The index is based on data collected through the International Air Transport Association.

In its latest ranking, Japan takes the top spot with the country’s passport-holders being able to access 189 other nations without a visa.

Canada is in fifth place at 185, and tied with Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and Switzerland.

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These are the countries that made the top 10 list:

  1. Japan (189)
  2. Germany, Singapore (188)
  3. Finland, France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Sweden (187)
  4. Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States (186)
  5. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland (185)
  6. Greece, Australia (183)
  7. Czech Republic, Malta, New Zealand (182)
  8. Iceland (181)
  9. Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia (180)
  10. Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia (179)

The index’s website explains that measuring visa-free access is important because it provides a glimpse into how much freedom a country’s citizens have.

Countries that top the list usually have stronger diplomatic relations with other nations.

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Being able to travel without constraints also facilitates economic relations, the index explains.

“In many ways, global connectivity has become an indispensable feature of wealth creation and wealth preservation, and its value will only grow as regional volatility and instability increase,” the website reads.

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Countries with the most improvement

The biggest improvement in this area has been by U.A.E., which enables citizens visa-free access to 154 countries and sits in 23rd place on the ranking. The country has risen 38 places since 2008.

China which gained visa-free access to several countries — and now has a total of 70 — in the past year also moved up several spots.

While there has been little change in how much access countries in Europe and North America have, African and Caribbean nations continue to add to their list of visa-free destinations.

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Countries with limited access

Iraq and Afghanistan currently sit at the bottom of the index in 100th place and have access to 30 countries without a visa.

Other countries near the bottom of the list include Somalia, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen.

Russia is among the countries that has fallen — from 45th place to 47th — rather than gained more access to the world. The country, however, recently announced that all ticket holders to the FIFA World Cup will be granted visa-free entry into the country.

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Most welcoming countries

A similar ranking put together by financial firm Arton Capital in 2017 also lists the most “welcoming” countries.

Thirteen countries top the list as they do not require citizens from any country to register for a visa in advance of travel.

Canada ranks 79 on the list of welcoming countries — and only welcomes 51 out of 198 nations into the country without a visa.

— With a file from Global News reporter Katie Dangerfield 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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