Japan has now pipped Singapore to take the crown of ‘World’s Most Powerful Passport’, according to the 2018 Henley Passport Index.
As of 1 October 2018, Japanese passport holders can travel to 190 countries without a visa, with Singaporeans able to enter 189 countries hassle-free.
Japan snapped up top spot after Myanmar relaxed its borders for a one year trial of visa-free entry to citizens of South Korea and Japan.
The ranks of third to sixth are shared by sixteen European countries, as well as South Korea in third, the USA in fifth, and Canada coming sixth.
Australia sits in seventh place alongside Malta and Greece, with visa-free access to 183 countries.
Trailing the bottom of the pack are Afghanistan and Iraq, whose citizens can only access 30 other countries without a visa.
Travelling on an Australian Passport
For Australian travellers, our passports afford us relatively good freedom when journeying abroad.
However, there are still a few destinations where either a visa is required beforehand or a fee has to be paid on arrival, such as China and Chile.
China generally requires tourists and business travellers to apply for a visa beforehand. But they allow a 144-hour ‘Transit Without Visa’ if you are heading onwards to another destination.
Chile charges a ‘reciprocity’ fee of USD$117 ($164) to Australian travellers arriving in Santiago by air, although it’s technically still visa-free access.
Even entry into the USA and Canada usually requires an electronic 'visa waiver permit', which involves you filling out an application and paying a fee – USD 14 ($20) for an ESTA, or CAD 7 ($7.60) for an eTA.
The majority of the 183 countries that Australians can travel to visa-free will generally allow a stay of 90 days/3 months, although it can vary between 7 days to 6 months.
For example, Aussie travellers within the European ‘Schengen Area’ are allowed to stay for up to 90 days within any 180 day period for business or leisure, visa-free.