Cypriot passport becomes more desirable

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The Cyprus passport now opens more doors as it strengthens its position among the most powerful and desirable in the world, according to an index by London-based Henley and Partners.

The index is part of Henley and Partners’ Global Mobility Report 2023 Q2, according to which the Cyprus passport is now the twelfth most powerful passport in the world, climbing three steps since the last report in January.

Holders of a Cypriot passport can now travel visa-free access to 179 countries and territories from a possible 227 destinations.

A Cyprus passport has not been in such a privileged position since 2006.

The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access.

It is updated in real-time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes occur.

The company monitors which of the world’s passports provide the most visa-free access, based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data.

In general, travel “freedom” has expanded worldwide in recent years.

According to the list, Singapore has replaced Japan for having the world’s most powerful passport, allowing visa-free entry to 192 global destinations.

Germany, Italy, and Spain tied for second place, with their citizens able to visit 190 global destinations visa-free.

Japan dropped to third place, along with Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden, with 189 destinations.

The UK climbed two places to fourth, recovering from a six-year slump.

Greece is in seventh place, with Canada, as its passport provides visa-free access to 185 destinations.

Cyprus passports have regained their lost shine since the country was forced to scrap its maligned citizenship scheme for foreign investors following revelations of scandals involving top public figures.

The scheme abruptly 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.

Then House Speaker Demetris Syllouris and AKEL MP Christakis Giovani, implicated in the case, stepped down from public office.

The golden passport scheme generated more than €8 bln for the local economy over 13 years.

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.