Last updated on 30 December 2019
This past decade, we have witnessed the rise of many new trends and the unfortunate fall of past triumphs. But when it comes to the world of global mobility— the 2010s truly left a lasting mark.
According to a 2019 Report published by the Passport Index, the leading global mobility intelligence platform, the greatest passports of the decade are not the usual suspects within Europe, or North America, but the least expected that quietly migrated to the top of the charts.
The 2019 Passport Index Report identified a common trend in island nations surfing slowly higher in the ranks as the fastest-growing passports, African nations swiftly escaping the lowest-ranking bottom, and many countries within the European Union remaining stagnant and comfortable at the top.
The world is opening up
Contrary to popular perception, in an era of building walls and closing borders, the world has considerably opened up in the past decade.
The 2019 Passport Index Report refers to its World Openness Score, sharing that the world is in fact currently 54% open.
“At an average increase of 4% year-over-year, it would be incredible to assume that by 2035 the entire world be open for travel,” shared Armand Arton, President of Arton Capital.
Comfortable at the top
It comes as no surprise that several European nations have been shuffling amongst the Top 5 most powerful passports over the past decade. But although some dominated the top of the highest-ranking a decade ago, the triumphants today are vastly different. One notable absence is the USA which has received little to no progress or attention, despite President Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again”.
The rise of the underdogs
Many countries have realized the importance of the power of their passport.
The 2019 Passport Index Report reveals that throughout this decade, it was the understated, such as island nations and former Soviet republics, that became a testament to the power of breaking down borders as barriers and using them as gateways to growth.
From Vanuatu to Moldova, Ukraine to Taiwan, this exciting list reveals the inspiring rise of the underdogs; with most passports jumping above 100% of their original passport power from back in 2010. And stealing the spotlight in 1st place with an outstanding 161% increase in its passport power between 2010 and 2019, is the Unicorn of the Decade.
At the top of the rank as the world’s Greatest Passport of the Decade is the United Arab Emirates, gaining a total of +111 visa waivers, most of which have taken place in the last 3 years! Triumphing and maintaining the lead for over a year to date, the UAE’s meteoric rise became one of the most intriguing examples of a successfully accomplished national goal.
On their way upwards
The ideal direction for any nation’s passport is up, but these two countries have displayed their will to strive higher unlike any other. The 2019 Passport Index Report reveals that Angola and China were two of the lowest placed countries ten years ago that made substantial leap forward to date.
Escaped the bottom
One of the most fascinating discoveries of the decade is witnessing the rise of the fallen in low-ranking African countries who have not only shown improvement in their ranks but have managed to escape the Bottom 10 over the past decade; including Angola, Burundi, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, and Equatorial Guinea.
Fell to the bottom
The war in Syria has forced it down to 3rd place as the world’s weakest passport. In 2010 Syria was not even on the bottom 10 list. This is an important piece of information that relays the correlation between the economic and political state of a country and the power of its passport, and can be seen once again with Yemen, the Palestinian Territories, and Libya to round up the bottom 10 list.
Stuck at the bottom
At the bottom — the differences are shocking. Mostly war-inflicted and underdeveloped countries make up the countries at the lowest end of the ranking. But once we look closely at the differences at the begging and the end of this decade, the political state of our world is unveiled.
Shifting minutely year after year, the low-ranking countries revealed in the 2019 Passport Index Report have been stuck at the bottom of the list, providing their citizens access to less than 20% of our world.
The 2019 Winners
This past year inspired much progress and surprising growth amongst nations adopting a global vision. The UAE preserved its global lead, adding another +12 countries to its ever-growing mobility score.
In the meantime, others like Qatar, Rwanda, Ukraine, Macao, and Indonesia followed closely behind, showing immense growth and progress in the power of their passport this past year.
Another country amongst the list of The Fastest-Growing Passports of 2019, is Saudi Arabia, suggesting that the leading passport may have inspired some successors.
This year also displayed an increase of passport power with nations offering Citizenship-by-Investment Programs. One of the strongest benefits of these programs is granting the freedom of global mobility, showing beyond doubt, that the value of having strong passport in hand has truly become a global trend.
If this decade taught us one thing; it’s that access and freedom are vital catalysts to evolution and progress. There is only one way to unparalleled benefits and opportunities for a brighter future, both for a nation and its citizens, and that is enforcing the importance and power of an increased global mobility.