Caroline Tanner for TPG
Jan 5, 2022
Americans hold the “world’s most powerful passport” this year, according to Global Citizen Solution’s Global Passport Index, implying your U.S. passport may be more helpful than what previous rankings from other sources suggest.
The Portugal-based consultancy firm, Global Citizens, ranked the United States as the “world’s strongest passport” for 2022 based on investment, qualify of life and enhanced mobility indices, the latter of which is a key marker commonly used in ranking passports to determine how easy it is for a passport holder to access other countries.
Per the study, the U.S. placed fourth in investment opportunities, with a Gross National Income (GNI) of $66,080 and personal taxation of 37%. The investment opportunities ranking assesses a “country’s attractiveness as an investment opportunity for passport holders,” the study’s data consultants explained.
The U.S. ranked 23rd in quality-of-life measures, including those related to safety, presence of travel hubs, freedom, environmental performance and happiness in persuading the country as a “permanent/primary place of residence for expats, retirees or anyone seeking desirable living conditions abroad.”
The U.S. came in 10th place for providing visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 172 countries or territories, which is the third-highest ranking among non-European Union countries, behind Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
“The United States offers investors a developed and diversified economic market as well as access to the most advanced and lucrative consumer market in the world,” Patricia Casaburi, Managing Director of Global Citizen Solutions, said in a statement. “Given the popularity of investment programs in return for a green card, the U.S. has consistently laid out opportunities for economic success.”
Unlike the 2021 Henley Passport Index that didn’t include the U.S. passport in its top five primarily based on the total number of destinations holders can access without having to apply for a visa, this new report included other factors (such as the ease of opening a business in the U.S.) in its scoring demonstrated by a “renewed interest in the benefits of acquiring a second passport,” says Global Citizens.
Global Citizens say their study is different because it more heavily factored in additional considerations, such as the logistical procedure of obtaining an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), on-arrival visas or Electronic Visas because they affect one’s decision to live abroad, from retirees to expats to students.
“This is one of the key reasons why the U.S. placed fourth on the Investment Index…because the country offers many attractive visa solutions for expats looking to invest in America, such as the EB5 Visa program and the E2 Visa program,” said Casaburi. “The U.S. Business Visa also allows [non-U.S.] citizens to spend 90 days in the country for business ventures.”
The Global Passport Index evaluated a passport’s attractiveness using the aforementioned three indices, weighing mobility at 50% and both investment and quality of life at 25% each. The U.S. scored 96.4 out of 100 overall.
Surprisingly, the ranking did not include Japan, Singapore or South Korea, all three Asian nations that are usually considered superior passports.
“It is a matter of balance or well ranking in all three indices. The U.S. is not the highest-ranked passport in any of the three. Comparing it with the best-placed passport in terms of mobility, Singapore, which also tops the ranking in terms of investment, we find that while the U.S. is ranked 23rd in quality of life, Singapore is much lower, at 130th position,” the data consultants said. “In Quality of Life, the U.S. fares better than Singapore in all dimensions selected. For instance, a lower cost of living, and the Freedom in the World Report, one of the sources we use, classify Singapore as only partly free.”
“The ranking ultimately allows individuals to see a comprehensive overview of mobility, investment potential, and country attractiveness,” said Casaburi.
According to the Global Passport Index, the top 10 passports are as follows:
Caroline Tanner covers news and travel for TPG. She is a journalism graduate of Mizzou and Northwestern.