The New Zealand passport takes the top spot in the world’s power rankings.

An index which compares the access granted by the passports of 193 United Nations member countries deemed the New Zealand passport as the world’s “most powerful”, finally knocking Japan from joint top position, who is second, while Sweden, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy and Finland are tied for the third position.

Amid the pandemic that has caused a shakeup in visa free travel, the New Zealand passport can now get you visa-free access to more than 120 countries. And although its passport now has visa-free access to fewer countries than before given the COVID crisis, rankings show that Kiwi passport holders have been least affected by travel restrictions as compared to other nationalities. Also, European countries manage to be in the top 10 list majorly, because most retain access to the Schengen ‘free movement’ zone with few COVID-19 restrictions.

The United States is a big absence from the list, because while the country has regained some footing since July, the freedom once enjoyed by US passport holders have been badly affected by the impact of COVID-19, having it fall to a low of 21st place in the passport rankings.

The top ten most powerful passports

1. New Zealand; 129
2. Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea, Japan, Australia; 128
3. Sweden, Belgium, France, Finland, Italy, Spain; 127
4. Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Lithuania, Norway, Iceland, UK, Canada; 126
5. Malta, Slovenia, Latvia; 125
6.Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Liechtenstein; 124
7. Slovakia; 123
8. Cyprus, Croatia, Monaco; 121
9. Romania, Bulgaria; 120
10. San Marino, Andorra, Uruguay; 115