SINGAPORE: The Republic has been ranked joint-fifth in travel freedom for three consecutive years and those holding a Singapore passport can travel to 173 countries or territories without needing a visa, according to a global index released on Wednesday (Feb 24).
This is up from 169 countries in 2015.
The annual Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, produced in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association, ranks countries according to the number of other countries or territories that their citizens can travel to without having to obtain a visa.
Germany came up tops in the 2016 Index, as those holding its passport can access 177 countries or territories without a visa. Sweden was second, with its passport holders able to access 176 countries or territories visa-free.
The United Kingdom - which shared the top spot last year with Germany - slipped to third, as those holding a UK passport can access 175 countries or territories without needing a visa. It shares the third-place ranking with Finland, France, Italy and Spain.
Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and the United States came in fourth on the Index, as its passport holders can access 174 countries or territories without needing a visa.
Singapore is joint-fifth alongside Japan and Austria. As such, Singapore and Japan are the highest-ranking Asian nations on the travel index.
South Korea came in sixth on the 2016 index with visa-free access to 172 countries or territories. It was third on the index in 2015.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia came in eighth in the 2016 index with visa-free access to 169 countries or territories, while Malaysia ranked 12th with visa-free access to 164 countries or territories, and Thailand was 67th with visa-free access to 71 countries or territories.
Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan ranked lowest on the index with Afghanistan taking the last place at 104th, allowing access to only 25 countries or territories without a visa.
There are a total of 219 destinations/territories with a maximum score attainable at 218. Points cannot be assigned to a national travelling to their own country, said Henley & Partners.
The index evaluated 199 nationalities/passports, including the 193 member states of the United Nations, Taiwan, Kosovo, Palestinian Territory, Vatican City, Hong Kong (SAR China) and Macau (SAR China). Countries or territories that do not enforce their own visa restrictions - Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Palestinian Territory, San Marina and Vatican City - are considered a nationality, but not a destination, the index said.