German passport now ranked second best in the world

German passport now ranked second best in the world

The latest quarterly update of the Henley Passport Index is here, and the German passport has gone from strength to strength since the beginning of 2023. The German Reisepass is now ranked as the second most powerful in the world.

Third-quarter Henley Passport Index of 2023

Each year, the Henley Passport ranking considers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations across the world in order to rank which nationalities can travel internationally with the greatest ease. While the official ranking is published by the law firm every January, it is updated on a quarterly basis. 

Passports are awarded one point for every country they can travel to without requiring a visa, or if the traveller can obtain a visa, a visitor's permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) upon arriving at their destination. On the other hand, for every destination where a pre-arranged visa or pre-departure government approval is required, the passport receives zero points.

This edition of the ranking sees Singapore rise to claim the top spot, with Japan falling from first place into joint third. European nations like Switzerland and the Netherlands have seen their scores improve, while Italy, Spain and Germany have all rocketed into joint second position.

Germany jumps to second place in Henley Passport ranking

According to the ranking, anyone lucky enough to have a German passport can visit 190 destinations without having to apply for a visa in advance. The country has moved up one spot from the Henley ranking from the first quarter of 2023, when it was in third place alongside Spain.

This is good news for any migrants to Germany who are hoping to benefit from the country’s soon-to-be-relaxed citizenship law, which could come into force by the end of the summer. When it does, the window of time that non-Germans have to live in Germany before they are eligible to apply for citizenship will significantly decrease. The new rules will also allow people to hold dual citizenship with their original nationality and their German passport.

The privileges of the German passport on the international stage are all well and good, but in responding to the survey, German newspaper SPIEGEL pointed out that many people can't afford to reap the travel-related benefits of their Reisepass. According to a recent report by Tagesschau, one in five people in Germany cannot afford a week-long holiday, whether domestic or international. 

The most and least powerful passports in 2023

According to the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, these passports offer holders the most options for low-bureaucracy travel:

  1. Singapore (192)
  2. Germany, Italy, Spain (190)
  3. Austria, Finland, France, Japan, Luxembourg, South Korea, Sweden (189)
  4. The Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, United Kingdom (188)
  5. Belgium, Czechia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland (187)
  6. Australia, Hungary, Poland (186)
  7. Canada, Greece (185)
  8. Lithuania, United States (184)
  9. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (183)
  10. Estonia, Iceland (180)

Passport holders of the following countries, however, are faced with greater bureaucratic hurdles before travelling: 

  1. Afghanistan (27)
  2. Iraq (29)
  3. Syria (30)
  4. Pakistan (33)
  5. Yemen, Somalia (35)
  6. Palestinian Territory, Nepal (38)
  7. North Korea (39)
  8. Bangladesh (40)
  9. Libya, Sri Lanka (41)
  10. Kosovo (42)

To find out more about the ranking’s methodology, or to read the full report, visit the Henley & Partners website.

Thumb image credit: Mahony /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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