NZ passport one of world's most powerful

This is the first time an Asian country has the most powerful

This is the first time an Asian country has the most powerful

Passport-holders of only 13 countries are allowed visa-free entry into the Middle Kingdom - this includes a hodgepodge of nations including Japan, Singapore, Serbia, Ecuador and Brunei. Germany comes in second, followed by Sweden and South Korea.

This is the first time an Asian country has had the most powerful passport in the world, according to Arton Capital.

The new Singapore biometric passport design will feature new visa page designs as well as additional security features, said the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a statement on Thursday (Oct 26).

The index was developed by Canada-based global residence and citizenship advisory firm Arton Capital.

It ranked all of the passports of the world by their "total visa-free score", where a point is given for each country that their holders can visit without a visa, with a visa on arrival, or using electronic travel authorisation.

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Passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories were considered in the index.

The worst country on the report is Afghanistan which citizens can only visit 22 countries visa-free. "More and more people every year invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a second passport to offer better opportunity and security for their families". Germany often ranks at or near the top.

The powerful ranking is a reflection of the country's positive diplomatic relations and affords its citizens visa-free border crossing at 159 countries.

But existing passports are still valid for travel, and there's no need to replace them now unless they're expiring soon.

Hong Kong's passport was lower down at number 16 - but still far more powerful than a mainland Chinese passport which was ranked 67 along with Sierra Leone, Ghana and Cuba. Spain and Italy tied for third, with Ireland rounding out the top five.

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