With Paraguay removing its visa requirements for Singaporeans, Singapore’s ranking surpasses Germany and Sweden (which ranked 157 and 158 respectively) in the global passport ranking index.
Developed by Arton Capital, The Global Passport Power Rank of 2017 ranks international passports by assigning a “visa-free” score, which is determined by the number of countries a citizen can travel to without a visa, or with visa on arrival.
A total of 193 passports from United Nations member countries and territories were considered in the ranking exercise.
This is the first time an Asian country has topped the global passport ranking index, as the title is historically attained by European countries (with Germany leading for two consecutive years prior).
“It is a testament of Singapore’s inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy,” said managing director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office Philippe May in a statement.
Singapore’s passport ranking has seen a steady increase over the years, having attained the second position in early 2017. Other Asian countries included in the top 10 ranks are South Korea, Japan and Malaysia.
In light of its new ranking, the local government has also announced that Singapore’s passports are getting new design updates and improved security features.
These updates include a re-designed visa page and additional security features like an embossed tactile design, reflective light and animation effects on the national flower and an image of the passport holder inside the window, which will appear as positive or negative when tilted.
This update arrives in a timely fashion with the announcement of Singapore’s passport ranking, when local authorities can expect a spike in cases of tampering and counterfeiting of the passport.
On top of new security features, the Singapore passport will also be re-designed to include visa pages with local landmarks like the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Esplanade, Marina Barrage, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Sports Hub and Punggol New Town.