Passport rankings tend to focus on global mobility, with an exclusive look at how many passports facilitate visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel access. However, that doesn’t tell the full story. A passport’s desirability is not just tied to its travel freedoms. Rather, factors like ease of doing business, quality of life, and investment opportunities are notable draws for individuals looking to uproot their lives and acquire a second passport. When looking at Europe as a whole, what European passports of the world lead in terms of travel, relocation, and investment opportunities?
In brief, the top ten European passports of the world are:
- United Kingdom
Read on to discover how we came up with this conclusion, with a detailed breakdown of each passport, as well as an in-depth exploration of what makes each one passport snag a top spot in continental Europe.
About the Global Passport Index
Over the years, several global passport rankings have been developed, enabling individuals to understand how easily a passport can facilitate travel abroad with little to no visa restrictions. Yet, besides visa-free travel, there are also other, just as important benefits to acquiring a second passport, which Global Citizen Solution’s Global Passport Index addresses.
In short, our index uses a robust and nuanced scoring system to determine a passport’s allure for business, quality of life, and investment opportunities. Our quantitative tool offers individuals a comprehensive overview of mobility and country attractiveness across three standalone indexes: Enhanced Mobility Index, Investment Index, and Quality of Living Index. Each index enables users to filter results for individual country rankings.
Our index uses quantitative data like composite indicators to evaluate specific criteria that make certain passports so attractive. The ranking is based on data from various international institutions and multilateral organizations such as The World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and the Sustainable Development Report and is bolstered by senior analysts.
Take a look at our Global Passport Index here.
Top Ten Passports of the World in Europe
Europe’s top passports of the world have several things in common. For example, every country with a strong-ranking passport boasts a stable economy, a flourishing political and social system, and excellent quality of life, making each passport ideal to own in 2021.
It’s not the first time Germany secures a top spot in the world for its passport’s purchasing power. Germany steadily holds a strong score across all three of our indexes (Enhanced Mobility Index-4th position, Investment Index-12th position, Quality of Life Index- 5th position).
A German passport grants you visa-free access to 121 destinations worldwide, with visa-on-arrival access to 51 countries. In total, the passport holder has access to 172 destinations worldwide with little to zero visa restrictions, making it an ideal passport for travel purposes or doing business.
That’s not all. In Germany, you’ll discover cosmopolitan cities, a thriving and stable economy, ripe job opportunities, and world-class healthcare. In other words, all the key ingredients to building a beautiful and safe home.
Beyond its stunning natural beauty and cultural hotspots, Germany boasts an excellent standard of living, along with a profound respect for the environment, as evidenced in government policy. With leading educational institutions and universities, life in Germany is good.
In addition, Germany is an ideal country for foreign direct investors. It boasts a powerful and diverse industrial network, a highly skilled workforce with a large English-speaking population, robust infrastructure, a favorable social environment, a solid legal framework, and a strategic location in central Europe. In other words, opportunities to invest in Germany’s economy are ripe.
The Netherlands comes in second place for having one of the best passports of the world in continental Europe. Facilitating visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel access to 172 destinations worldwide, a Dutch passport means unfettered access to an innovative, thriving economy.
Strategically connected to Western Europe with excellent transport connections and a highly educated and skilled workforce, the Netherlands is a great place for doing business and international investment.
The Netherlands is also a perfect destination for expat families, having snagged several awards for being just that, the best place to live. It’s not a surprise, given its great childcare benefits, fantastic healthcare system, world-class education system, and environmental-friendly policies.
Denmark may have a high cost of living, but its wages and high-performing economy more than make up for it. With the world’s most dynamic job market, one of the world’s highest levels of education, a peaceful political system, and a world-grip on digitalization, Denmark holds the key ingredients of doing business.
A Danish passport grants you visa freedoms to 172 destinations worldwide, making it an extremely mobile passport to own. Denmark also wins in terms of its healthcare services, clean environment, and affordable housing.
Topping fourth place just after Denmark, Sweden is yet another Scandinavian country with a powerful-ranking passport. Setting up a business is easy here, given the country’s robust business frameworks, and efficient filing platforms for incorporation, taxes, and property transfer. Sweden also has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the EU.
While life in Sweden is expensive, the country enjoys a relatively low-income inequality and high living standards. Not to mention, Sweden boasts a global reputation for its socially progressive society and governance, with a nod to its gender equality, low crime rates, and human rights principles enshrined in society.
The United Kingdom may have left the European Union, but geographically speaking, it still counts as Europe. In fifth place is the UK. The UK scores highly in categories like personal security, environmental quality, civic engagement, societal progressiveness, healthcare, jobs and wages, education, and skills.
The UK is a popular choice with expats from all corners of the globe. The country’s highly diverse and tolerant culture makes it easy for expats to feel welcome and settled down.
Finland may be freezing cold in winters, but believe it or not, it is the sixth-best European passport to own in 2021, and for a good reason. With extremely low crime rates, a reputation for its excellent democratic governance, independent judicial system, and safe banking, Finland is an attractive country to live in. In fact, Finland often tops the awards for being the happiest country in the world to live in.
Norway is considered the wealthiest Nordic country, boasting a solid reputation for its top startup scene, strong economy, stable governance, and digitally advanced society. Leading in renewable energy, the cleantech industry, and the medical/biotechnology sector, investors have strong competitive advantages in setting up shop here.
Just behind Finland, Norway is the second happiest country in the world and has one of the highest standards of living in the world, with strong welfare benefits for its citizens.
Switzerland secures the 8th spot as having one of the most powerful passports in the world in Europe. Expect a high salary with excellent living conditions to boot, with more than a 20% dynamic, international workforce. Life expectancy in Switzerland is 84, the third-highest in Europe.
To top it off, Switzerland has a flexible labor market and moderate taxes, which add up to the country’s appeal. It makes Switzerland an attractive location for international companies to set up a base.
France maintains an excellent reputation for its environmental sustainability, migrant acceptance attitudes, and political and social freedoms. Its pro-business environment and sophisticated financial market mean doing business here is an attractive prospect. Not to mention, France is a melting pot of cultural influences and activities, meaning, life in France is anything but boring.
Luxembourg may be a small country, but its strategic location, skilled workforce, and business-pro policies are not to be underestimated. Businesses looking to expand their footprint into the European market usually do well in Luxembourg.
Small Luxembourg is a big draw for expats looking to live in a diverse multicultural country with one of Europe’s lowest crime rates, along with top quality of life conditions.
Other Passports Of The World in Europe
Other countries that ranked highly were Ireland (14th), Spain (16th), Monaco (17th), Austria (19th), Czech Republic (20th), Liechtenstein (21st), Belgium (23rd), Andorra (25th), Estonia (27th), Italy (28th), Iceland (29th), Portugal (30th).
The full passport ranking list for the strongest passports of the world can be viewed here.