SINGAPORE: For the first time, Singapore is the single most powerful passport in the world, thanks to a little help from Paraguay.
By removing visa requirements for Singaporeans, Paraguay helped Singapore edge out Germany for the top spot in a passport index developed by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital.
Historically, the top ten most powerful passports in the world were mostly European, with Germany having the lead for the past two years.
Since early 2017, Singapore has tied for number one position with Germany. But Singapore obtained a visa-free score of 159 in the latest rankings released on Wednesday (Oct 25), while Germany achieved a visa-free score of 158, according to the index.
"For the first time ever an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world," said Mr Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital's Singapore office.
“It is a testament of Singapore's inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy," shared Mr May.
Other Asian passports in the top 20 include those of South Korea, Japan and Malaysia.
While Singapore quietly climbed the ranks, the US passport has fallen down since President Donald Trump took office. It now has a score of 154, on a par with Malaysia, Ireland and Canada.
Most recently Turkey and the Central African Republic revoked their visa-free status to US passport holders.
The passport index ranks national passports by the cross-border access they bring, assigning a visa-free score according to the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival.
"Visa-free global mobility has become an important factor in today's world," said Mr Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital. "More and more people every year invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a second passport to offer better opportunity and security for their families," added Mr Arton.