The Cyprus passport is among the most powerful and desirable in the world for 2022, according to an index prepared by London-based Henley and Partners.
Their list is based on various parameters, including visa requirements and travel convenience.
Cyprus came 14 among 199 world passports, as it provides its holders visa-free access to more than 176 countries and territories.
Visa-free travel is the cornerstone of the Henley Passport Index.
The company monitors which of the world’s passports provide the most visa-free access to countries and territories, based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data.
In general, travel “freedom” has expanded worldwide in recent years.
The Henley Passport Index said that in 2006 an individual could, on average, visit 57 countries without needing to acquire a visa in advance.
Today, that number is 107 — almost double. In addition, Henley and Partners provide advice on residence and citizenship by investment schemes.
However, these new freedoms are primarily enjoyed by Europe, North America, and richer Asian nations – passports holders from nations such as Angola, Cameroon, and Laos can enter only about 50 countries.
Japan and Singapore’s passports are at the top of the list, as they open the doors to 192 countries and territories.
Between 2006 and 2022, Ukraine added 109 destinations, while the United Arab Emirates provided access to an additional 140 destinations.
The United States added 56 destinations during the same period, while Canada and Mexico added 60 and 61 destinations.
The top 15 passports of 2022:
- 192 countries – Japan, Singapore
- 190 countries – Germany, South Korea
- 189 countries – Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain
- 188 countries – Austria, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden
- 187 countries – Ireland, Portugal
- 186 countries – Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, UK, USA
- 185 countries – Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta
- 183 countries – Hungary, Poland
- 182 countries – Lithuania, Slovakia
- 181 countries – Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia
- 180 countries – Iceland
- 179 countries – Malaysia
- 178 countries – Liechtenstein
- 176 countries – Cyprus
- 175 countries – United Arab Emirates
Despite the popularity and bringing in more than €7 bln to the island’s economy over 13 years, Cyprus was forced to scrap its maligned Cypriot citizenship scheme for foreign investors following revelations of scandals involving top public figures.
The scheme ended in November 2020, following an Al Jazeera ‘gotcha’ video that captured officials allegedly trying to help a client with a criminal record acquire a Cyprus passport amid corruption allegations and pressure from Brussels.
House Speaker Demetris Syllouris and AKEL MP Christakis Giovani, implicated in the case, stepped down from public office.
A damning public inquiry ruled that over half (53%) of the 6,779 passports granted were done so illegally, encouraged by a due diligence vacuum or insufficient background checks.