The Australian passport just got more powerful … and expensive

February 13, 2018
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GOOD news, Aussie globe-trotters: our passport is more powerful than it was this time last year.

The Henley Passport Index ranks the world’s passports according to their visa-free score — that is, the number of countries each passport holder can travel to without a visa.

Germany has long held the position of the world’s most powerful passport, with a visa-free score of 177. Singapore and Switzerland are in second place at 176.

And Australia has climbed a spot on the ranking in 2018, after its visa-free score went from 170 to 171.

That’s thanks to Qatar waiving its visa requirements for Australians, which makes Australian passport holders eligible for a free, 30-day visa upon arrival in that country.

That change, which was announced in August, brings Australia in line with New Zealand and Greece on the Henley Passport Index.

Other powerful countries on the index include the United Kingdom and Japan (visa-free scores of 175), the United States (174) and Canada (172).

But there’s a downside to being an Australian passport holder.

A recent investigation by the New Daily revealed Australians are among those forking out the most money for their passport.

The cost of a 10-year Australian adult passport went from $277 to $282 on January 1 this year.

In 2015, the Australian passport was the second-most expensive behind Turkey, but now the current cost of the Turkish passport appears to be about $255 — and the price tag of Australia’s passport has shot ahead.

The only people paying more for a travel document are people seeking a Syrian passport, which is the most expensive in the world.

A Syrian passport used to cost about $11 but amid the ongoing civil war, the Syrian government has cranked up the cost to a whopping $500 for people who have fled the country and want a new passport at an overseas consulate.

Syria is also one of the world’s weakest passports (visa-free score of 28), just ahead of bottom-ranked Iraq (27) and Afghanistan (24).

MOST POWERFUL PASSPORTS

1. Germany (177)

2. Singapore, Switzerland (176)

3. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, UK (175)

4. Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, US (174)

5. Ireland, Portugal, South Korea (173)

LEAST POWERFUL PASSPORTS

1. Afghanistan (24)

2. Iraq (27)

3. Syria (28)

4. Pakistan (30)

5. Somalia (32)

MOST IMPROVED PASSPORTS IN 2018

1. Georgia (99) — in 2018 it climbed 15 spots to be ranked 53rd

2. Ukraine (114) — climbed 14 spots to be ranked 44th

3. China (60) — climbed 10 stops to be ranked 75th.

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