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09 January 2019, 06:32 | Darnell Patrick
The British passport has dropped to sixth place this year. Credit PA
Going into 2019, Japan leads the charts, with citizens enjoying visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations around the world - the most of any other country.
Despite Irish passport holders being able to access eight more countries visa-free compared with last year, it fell by two places from last year's index, when citizens could go to the fifth most countries.
The Irish passport lets its citizens into the seventh most countries in the world, according to the latest index.
Both Britain and the U.S. fell from joint fifth place in last year's Henley Passport Index, to joint sixth in this year's... This is a significant fall from the first place position that these countries held in 2015.
It started in 2006 as Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index and was modified and renamed in January 2018.
The index, compiled by global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, says it bases its ranking on "exclusive" data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and "is enhanced by extensive, ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department". The number of countries that a specific passport can access becomes its visa-free "score".
Japan has entered 2019 with the world's most powerful passport, according to a new global ranking.
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Commenting on the UAE's recent partnerships with African nations, Ryan Cummings, Director of Signal Risk, said, "The United Arab Emirates has demonstrated a penchant for reciprocating visa deregulation as the country aims to attract diverse skill-sets and increase the power of its own passport".
Denmark, Italy, Finland, and Sweden share joint 4th place, with access to 187 destinations around the globe.
It is updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.
Going into 2019, China now sits in 69th place, with access to 74 countries around the world.
'In 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by the end of 2018, this number had almost doubled to 107'.
"South Korea and the United Arab Emirates' recent ascent in the rankings are further examples of what happens when countries take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly benefits their citizens as well as the worldwide community".
Syrian and Somalian passports also fair poorly with access to just 32 destinations, as does the Pakistani passport with visa-free travel to 33 countries.
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