Japan overtakes Singapore as world's most powerful passport

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The Henley Passport Index's ranking "is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world's largest and most accurate database of travel information, and is enhanced by extensive in-house research", said the Henley & Partners' website.

Thanks to gaining visa-free access to Myanmar this month, Japan has toppled Singapore to claim the top spot for holding the world's most powerful passport.

"Japan and Singapore have been neck and neck on the index since they both climbed to first place in February - following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan - and pushed Germany down to second for the first time since 2014", the statement said.

In third place are Germany, South Korea and France, and the United Kingdom and the USA slid from fourth to fifth place, granting their citizens easy access to 186 destinations.

Below are the 102 countries that South Africans can travel to visa-free right now.

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It is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect, according to Henley and Partners.

Previously, both Singapore and Japan had access to 189 countries and shared top place.

As per the index, Indians have access to travel without a visa to 60 countries, which includes Bhutan, Mauritius, Nepal, Fiji, among others.

Russia received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver for Russian nationals (valid until July 2019), but the country has nonetheless fallen from 46th to 47th place compared to Q3, because of movements higher up in the ranking. There are 218 countries in the world in total which require a visa. Frequent Filipino travelers won't find this surprising and are surely all too familiar with the hassle and uncertainty of applying for a visa to visit foreign countries.

Citizens from these Middle Eastern countries only have visa-free access to 30 countries and rank 106th in the list. Those on the world stage should pay attention to the United Arab Emirates. The same is true of China: Chinese nationals obtained access to two new jurisdictions (St. Lucia and Myanmar), but the Chinese passport fell two places, to 71st overall.