New Zealand passport now world's most powerful in shakeup

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 5 Oct 2020, 2:41PM
New Zealand Passport: All powered up with nowhere to go. (Photo / Supplied)
New Zealand Passport: All powered up with nowhere to go. (Photo / Supplied)

New Zealand passport now world's most powerful in shakeup

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 5 Oct 2020, 2:41PM

It is a bitter sweet moment for Kiwi travellers as the New Zealand passport takes the top spot in the world's power rankings. The black book of NZ travel has been trending upwards in the index tables for years, finally knocking Japan from joint top position.

The index which compares the access granted by the passports of 193 United Nations member countries deemed the Kiwi passport to be the world's "most powerful". But what does this label mean during a global pandemic?

The Coronaviurs pandemic which has caused a shakeup in visa free travel has also meant that New Zealand has visa-free access to fewer countries than before. Albeit, Kiwi passport holders have not been affected as badly by travel restrictions as other nationalities.

Following Australia's extending of quarantine free travel to New Zealand passport holders – there are now 129 countries offering visa-free access. This is up 80 countries from the height of the pandemic crisis in six months ago. However, it represents a decrease of 40 places offering restriction free travel to New Zealanders in 2019.

Japan slips to second place, alongside joint entries Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea and Australia.

European countries make up the bulk of the top 10 list, as most retain access to the Schengen 'free movement' zone with few covid restrictions.

A notable absence from the top 10 is the United States, which fell to a low of 21st place in the passport rankings.

While it has regained some footing since July, the freedom once enjoyed by US passport holders have been badly affected by the impact of Covid 19 on the country.

In July the US passport dropped to an all-time low of 28th in the rankings below Mexico and Uruguay.

It was pointed out at the time by the index's compilers that the US travel document provided roughly equivalent access to many of the countries the current Whitehouse administration had sought to block from its borders.

 

Passport Power Rankings

1. New Zealand; 129
2. Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea, Japan, Australia; 128
3. Sweden, Belgium, France, Finland, Italy, Spain; 127
4. Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Lithuania, Norway, Iceland, UK, Canada; 126
5. Malta, Slovenia, Latvia; 125
6.Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Liechtenstein; 124
7. Slovakia; 123
8. Cyprus, Croatia, Monaco; 121
9. Romania, Bulgaria; 120
10. San Marino, Andorra, Uruguay; 115

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