Your passport might be buried in the bottom of your sock drawer, collecting dust and aching from perennial neglect. And although the little ID book is not a magic wand that'll let you bewitch border security agents, your passport does wield a certain amount of power, and it all depends on where you're from.
According to the annual Passport Index, citizens of Singapore have the most powerful passport in the world, beating out the other 192 United Nations member countries included in the report. The United States might be an unchallengeable juggernaut on a number of fronts, like engineering three-foot burritos and angrily tweeting about dessert foods, but when it comes to gaining entry into foreign countries without a visa, we rank a paltry sixth place, alongside Malaysia, Ireland, and Canada.
The Passport Index is compiled every year by Arton Capital, a global advisory and citizenship firm, which ranks countries according to the number of foreign nations their citizens can enter without a visa. The report then assigns countries a "visa-free score," which, according to CNN represents "the number of countries a passport holder can enter visa-free or with visa on arrival."
Singapore's ascendency marks the first time an Asian country has claimed the top spot for passport strength. Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital's Singapore office, told CNN: "Singapore has constantly increased its passport strength since it became independent in 1965."
A variety of factors belied the southeast Asian city state's rise, but most importantly, May added: "Singapore is not locked into a common travel zone (eg. with other ASEAN countries), and never had to impose visa restrictions on foreign nationals only because other ASEAN member countries have restrictions."
In fact, it's been a long time coming, as Singapore has consistently waffled back and forth in the rankings year-over-year, ascending to fourth in 2015, and falling back to fifth last year.
As for the rest of the top 10, the results more or less showcase some familiar countries, with the rest listed below in descending order:
10. Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia: 149
9. Hungary: 150
8. Malta, Czech Republic, Iceland: 152
7. Australia, Greece, New Zealand: 153
6. Malaysia, Ireland, Canada, United States: 154
5. Luxembourg, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Portugal: 155
4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, Japan, United Kingdom: 156
3. Sweden, South Korea: 157
2. Germany: 158
1. Singapore: 159
While the news is pretty good for most countries belonging to the European Union, it'd probably be wise to look into renewing your American passport quickly. Domestic travel to some US states might require passports pretty soon, in a move that would sure to make any Singaporean laugh in your face.
[h/t Travel + Leisure, CNN]