New Zealand passport the 7th most powerful in the world in Henley and Partners 2021 index

We're beating Australia again - but are well behind Japan.
We're beating Australia again - but are well behind Japan. Photo credit: Getty

Japan's passport has been named the world's most powerful according to the Henley and Partners 2021 global passport index, a position it has held since 2018.

Singapore was placed second ahead of South Korea, Germany and Italy.

New Zealand shares seventh place with Switzerland, United States, United Kingdom and Belgium - the same place as in 2020.

The Henley Passport Index is produced by comparing the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is said to be the most recognised passport ranking system in the world.

Passport rankings snapshot:

1 - Japan

2 - Singapore

3 - South Korea, Germany

7 - New Zealand, Belgium, United Kingdom, United States

9 - Australia, Canada

102 - North Korea

109 - Iraq

110 - Afghanistan

Without taking temporary and constantly evolving COVID-19 travel restrictions into account, Japan firmly holds onto the number one spot on the index. Data from International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed Japanese passport holders theoretically able to access a record 193 destinations around the world visa-free, in a non-COVID-19 world.

While the countries ranked at the top of the index have remained relatively unchanged, the gap between the countries with the most access compared to those with the least being the widest it's ever been.

Japanese passport holders can access 167 more destinations than citizens of Afghanistan, who can visit only 26 destinations worldwide without acquiring a visa in advance.