Earth & Conservation

These Are the World's Most Powerful Passports

The annual ranking of the world's most — and least — powerful passports reflects recent events, including Brexit.

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For global citizens on the go, holding the right passport can make travel much easier.

According to the latest ranking by the residence and citizenship planning firm Henley & Partners, the German passport is the most powerful one to have in your pocket.

The rankings are based on the number of countries the passport holder can visit without having to obtain a visa beforehand.

Close behind in the rankings were the U.K., Finland, Italy and Spain - all coming in third, and the United States ranking at fourth alongside Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands.

June's Brexit decision has shuffled the firm's rankings to some degree. In fact, demand for Irish Passports (ranked at 6th place) is on the rise, since an Irish passport allows the holder to travel and work anywhere in Europe, even after the U.K. leaves the EU. This year, the Irish Passport Authority has already issued 700,000 passports, 30,000 more than they issued in 2015, according to Indepedent.ie.

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Here are the Henley & Partners top 10 spots for the world's most powerful passports in 2016:

But what about the countries with the least powerful passports in the world? Henley & Partners has a list of those too. Many of the countries on the list likely won't come as a surprise, considering a majority have been home to civil unrest for years.

The world's least powerful passports in 2016 are:

"Generally, there was significant movement across the board with only 21 of the 199 countries listed remaining in the same rank," reads the Henley & Partners summary of the 2016 rankings. "No country however, dropped more than three positions, indicating that overall, visa-free access is improving around the world."

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Henley & Partners also highlighted Portugal for their residence-by-investment program, which allows foreign investors who spend 500,000 euros on a property in Portugal the right to live in in the country and apply for citizenship after six years, despite the criticism the program has received over the years.

"Portugal, which holds the most attractive residence-by-investment program through its Golden Visa Program, has taken sixth position in the 2016 Index, gaining two countries to total 172 countries its citizens may travel to visa-free."

The company said that this year's rankings indicate the ability to travel freely between countries is getting better around the world overall. "The global progress in travel freedom looks set to continue for citizens of all countries."

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