Singapore passport ranked fifth best in the world for travel

LONDON - The Singapore passport has been ranked the joint-fifth best in the world, as its holders now enjoy visa-free access to 170 countries around the globe.

According to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2014, an annual global ranking of countries based on the freedom of travel enjoyed by their citizens, Singapore edged up one place from sixth last year to join New Zealand and Switzerland in the fifth spot.

In the process, it moved ahead of the Greek and Australian passports.

Singapore was three spots ahead of the Malaysian passport, which allowed visa-free access to four fewer countries, and also because Malaysian citizens were unable to access key destinations such as the United States, Canada, Australia, India and China as easily.

Dr Juerg Steffen, Head of Asia Pacific, Henley & Partners, said that visa requirements continue to be important in controlling the movement of individuals across borders.

"Visa policies are also an expression of the relationships between individual nations and generally reflect the relations and status of a country within the international community," said Dr Steffen.

Finland, Sweden, the UK, Germany and US all shared top spot in this year's index, with citizens of those countries able to travel to 174 destinations without a visa.

Denmark and Canada shared second place with 173, while Belgium, Portugal, France, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands and Spain were all ranked third with 172.

The index also showed that Hong Kong (15th) have much better travel accessibility than their counterparts in China (83rd), while Moldova was the most improved country after moving up 22 places and adding 30-countries to its visa-free status.

"Citizens from developed countries have more travel freedom compared to developing countries and politically unstable countries," says Dr Steffen.

He added that holding a low-ranked passport can provide significant obstacles to individuals operating global businesses.