Germany has claimed bragging rights in an annual ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, while the UK and US each fell multiple spots.
In Africa, Seychelles rank number one placed 31 in the world while Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world ranks 92 in the world.
All three countries shared first place in last year’s study, but the UK and US have dropped to third and fourth, respectively, in this year’s list.
German citizens hold the world’s most powerful passport as they can visit 177 countries without a visa, while British travellers can enter 175 and US tourists can travel to 174.
With a maximum attainable score of 218, the visa restriction index by Henley & Partners, a citizenship and planning firm, ranks nations or territories based on the number of countries their citizens can travel to visa-free.
It is based on visa restrictions that were in place on 1 January.
Germany claimed sole possession of first spot this year after three countries lifted visa restrictions for its citizens, edging Sweden, which finished second with visa-free access to 176 countries.
After three consecutive years in first, the UK fell to third and was tied with Finland, France, Italy and Spain with a score of 175, up one from 174 last year.
The US shared fourth spot with Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands.
As for the world’s least powerful passports, Afghanistan found itself at the bottom of the table with visa-free access to just 25 countries.
Pakistan was in second-last place (29), just behind Iraq (30), Somalia (31) and Syria (32).
In a statement, Henley & Partners, which has offices around the world, including London and Melbourne, said only 21 of the 199 countries listed in this year’s study remained in the same rank as last year.
It said: ‘No country, however, dropped more than three positions, indicating that overall, visa-free access is improving around the world.
“Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan meanwhile, continue to hold the bottom four positions on the index, and thus have again been labelled the worst passports in the world.”
Timor-Leste, in Southeast Asia, had the biggest leap, climbing 33 spots to 57th place, followed by Colombia and Paula, which jumped 25 and 20 spots, respectively.
Hungary returned to the top 10, while Malaysia was bumped out.
Henley & Partners, which has produced an annual index in co-operation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) since 2006, said: ‘There continues to be a huge disparity in the levels of travel freedom between countries, despite the world becoming more mobile and interdependent.
“Generally, visa requirements reflect strongly on each country’s relationships with others, and will take into account diplomatic relationships between the countries, reciprocal visa arrangements, security risks and the risks of visa and immigration rules violations.”tweet