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Philippine Passport Weakens Further To Its Lowest Global Ranking

Travelers who are Philippine passport holders know very well that in order to see more of the world—beyond most of our neighbor countries in Asia—one must first go through a grueling process of applying for a visa.


Pre-pandemic, one may salivate with envy that their friends from overseas (say from Japan, Singapore, US or most EU countries) could go on a trip abroad with the very basic of needs in mind when planning—money, plane tickets and accommodation.


But for most Philippine passport-holders, it would mean months of planning and gathering documents, paying money for the visa, showing up at the visa service provider or embassy, and more.



In the recently released Q3 2021 Henley Passport Index—the global ranking of all passports in the world based on the number of countries its holders can visit visa-free—the Philippines ranked 82nd out of 199 countries in the list.


The Philippines slipped eight notches from last year’s 74th and is currently at its lowest rank since 2006. The country’s highest rank peaked at 62nd in 2007, 2008 and 2009.


Philippines ranking over the years


The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as gathered by the Henley & Partners research department.


Each passport is scored in a total number of destinations that a holder can access visa-free. For each travel destination where no visa is required, a score of one is given for that passport. The scoring is the same if the passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival, visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority upon entry.


Where a visa is required, or where a passport-holder must apply for a government-approved electronic visa before departure, a score of zero is given. The same applies if they need pre-departure approval for a visa on arrival.


“The latest results from the Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive data from the IATA, show that while there is cause for optimism, it must be tempered with the reality that cross-border mobility continues to be significantly obstructed,” said the London-based firm, referencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel.


According to Henley, the Philippines has a total 66 visa-free destinations with countries mostly from Asia, a few in South America and Africa, Caribbean and the Middle East.

Globally, European countries have once again dominated the ranking’s Top 10, but Asian countries have made their notable place in the list, copping the Top 3 spots respectively—Japan, 193; Singapore, 192; South Korea (tied with Germany), 191.

Here are the Top 10 passports according to the 2021 Henley Passport Index:

  1. Japan (193 countries)

  2. Singapore (192)

  3. South Korea, Germany (191)

  4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (190)

  5. Austria, Denmark (189)

  6. France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden (188)

  7. Belgium, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (187)

  8. Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Norway (186)

  9. Australia, Canada (185)

  10. Hungary (184)

Meanwhile, out of 199 countries, Afghanistan is the last in the list with only 26 visa-free countries its passport holders can go to. It is followed by Iraq, 28; Syria, 29; Pakistan, 32; Yemen, 33; and Somalia, 34.


Source: Philstar and Henleyglobal

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