What Does a Stronger Passport vs. a Weaker Passport Mean?

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If you are from a developed country, chances are you have a strong passport.

And if you are from a developing country, you might have a weaker passport (but not always).

But what does all this mean?

What Does a Stronger Passport vs. a Weaker Passport Mean?
Featured article photo by Baigal Byamba (CC BY 2.0 License)

Put simply:

Holders of a strong passport can VISIT a lot of countries without a tourist visa, for a longer period of time.

This means if you have a strong passport, you can pack your bags and book a plane ticket right now, to a popular destination country, and you can most likely just go.

There are countries where you will need to apply a visa first to visit, but if you have a strong passport, the number of countries you can enter without a visa is usually a lot more than the number of countries where you need one.

To find out whether you have a strong or a weaker passport, you can head over to Passport Index or the Henley Passport Index. There are many indexes that measure passport strength on other metrics, but these two rankings are amongst the most popular ones.

Below is a screenshot of passport rankings from the Passport Index taken in early 2023.

The higher your passport is ranked, the stronger it is.

Passport Index (January 2023)

The number shown beside each passport is the number of countries holders of the passport can visit without a visa. For example, at the time this screenshot is taken (early 2023), citizens of Sweden 🇸🇪 can visit 174 countries in the world without needing to apply for a tourist visa.

What about those with weaker passports?

Citizens of countries with weaker passports can visit fewer countries without a tourist visa.

They may be able to visit a few developed countries without a visa, but for many popular destinations, chances are they will have to apply for a tourist visa in advance.

This means holders of weaker passports can't make impromptu travel trips to these destinations even if they have the money to do so, as they have to apply for a tourist visa first. To apply for a tourist visa, they will need to meet the requirements of their destination country, such as:

  • By proving they have enough money,
  • By proving they are employed (or are in school),
  • By paying a visa fee,
  • By outlining and submitting a travel plan (a list of where they'll go and where they'll stay during the trip)

The requirements vary from one country to another, but in any case, there is no guarantee that their tourist visa will be approved.

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Hey, Ryan here 🇨🇦


Over the past 10 years, I've lived & worked in 5 cities across 3 countries (Previously in 🇸🇬🇮🇩).

More about me here.

27 years old

12 visas & residence permits granted

18 countries & territories visited

12 houses & apartments lived in