New Zealand passport ranked the 8th 'most powerful' in the world

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Japan surged to the top of the latest list because earlier this month, Myanmar became the 190 country to give Japanese visitors a visa waiver, the Liberty Times reported.

In the latest reshuffling of the Henley Passport Index, which is updated in real-time, Japan pushed Singapore down to second spot, and Germany to third.

On the global stage, Japan is the current passport champion, with Japanese citizens able to access a record total of 190 destinations around the world.

With neither having gained entry to any new jurisdictions this year, it seems unlikely that either will soon reclaim the No.1 spot they held in 2015.

The rest of the 10 strongest passports include countries in Europe, plus Malaysia.

Until last year, Germany held the top spot for five consecutive years.

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The latest report also showed that USA and the United Kingdom passports, both with 186 visa-free destinations, fell one spot from fourth to the fifth place after failing to gain access to new destinations.

Lebanese passport holders gain admission to 41 countries without restriction, according to the recently released 2018 Henley & Partners rating of countries based on the degree of global travel afforded to their respective citizens. The same is true of China: Chinese nationals obtained access to two new jurisdictions (St. Lucia and Myanmar), but the Chinese passport fell two places this quarter, to 71st overall.

The United Arab Emirates made the most remarkable ascent, from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place this year. the most dramatic climb could come from Kosovo, which officially met all the criteria for visa-liberalization with the EU in July and is now in discussions with the European Council. Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI programme in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008.

"Mauritius and the Seychelles both have very welcoming visa policies, and as a result of this openness, other countries reciprocate and make travel easier for Seychellois and Mauritian citizens".

"CBI programs offer access to some of the world's strongest and most promising passports", says Dr. Kälin, "and the merit of these passports is a reflection of the underlying stability and attractiveness of the countries themselves".

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