According to Global Citizen Solutions’ cutting-edge Global Passport Index, the United States has the most powerful passport in the world. Our approach takes into account not just how many countries a visa provides you access to, but also includes investment opportunities and quality of life indicators – which we deem as important elements in determining a passport’s strength.
In this article, we’ll run over our methodology to present you with how we came up with the results for our Global Passport Index Following this, we’ll delve into the reasoning as to why the United States is the most powerful passport and how the country performed so well, claiming the top position.
Our approach to determining the most powerful passport
Over the years, passport rankings have focused on the number of countries a passport grants the holder access to. This provides individuals with important information on how easily a passport can enable them to travel abroad with little to no visa restrictions. However, in an increasingly globalized world, there are other important benefits to acquiring a second passport, which is the focus of Global Citizen Solution’s Global Passport Index.
Our Global Passport Index uses a robust quantitative scoring system, to determine the attractiveness of a passport for investment opportunities and quality of life. Our three indexes (1) Enhanced Mobility Index (2) Investment Index, and (3) Quality of Living Index allow individuals to see a comprehensive overview of mobility, investment potential, and country attractiveness. Each index can be used as a standalone index and users can filter results for individual country rankings.
To create our Global Passport Index, we used quantitative data like composite indicators to analyze specific criteria that determine the attractiveness of a passport. The ranking is based on data from various institutions and multilateral organizations, including The World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and The Sustainable Development Report, and was put together in collaboration with senior analysts.
An in-depth look at our methodology can be found here.
Why does the United States have the most powerful passport?
The United States ranks as having the most powerful passport when taking into account the three individual indicators.
- 10th in the Enhanced Mobility Index
- 4th in the Investment Index
- 23rd in the Quality of Life Index
The overall positioning, striking the balance of performing well in each category pushes the USA to the top spot. Indeed, the multitude of benefits of the USA claiming the strongest passport is not a surprise. While the Quality of Life Index is perhaps lower than one would first imagine, this is made up for by the investment opportunities in the country.
Investment opportunities in the United States
The USA offers investors a developed and diversified economic market and access to the most advanced and lucrative consumer market in the world, leading to it being placed as fourth in the Investment Index.
The USA ranks highly on all aspects of markets and innovation – innovation capability, financial system, product market, market size, labor market, and business dynamics. With a GNI of $66.080 and personal taxation of 37%, this makes the USA a “most favorable” option for investors.
The opportunities to invest in the country are extremely attractive to investors. This is perhaps one of the key reasons why the country offers many attractive visa schemes for expats looking to invest in America, such as the EB5 Visa program and the E2 Visa program. The Business Visa also allows citizens to spend 90 days in the country for business ventures.
There is a wide range of funding available in the United States, from banks, venture capitalists, angel investors, and investment firms. With a transparent legal system, strong infrastructure in place, and attractive investment programs, the USA easily catches the eye of investors.
Running alongside the wide range of funding possibilities are tax incentives. Dividends that are collected from foreign companies are not taxable in the USA. The capital gains from the sale of stocks and short-term gains will not result in any US tax liability.
The United States has a very diversified economic market, from real estate to consumer goods. Spreading out your wealth into different types of avenues reduces risks and, given the wide range of investment possibilities, this makes the USA an attractive market to invest in – allowing your investments to grow, while reducing associated risks.
Mobility with the US passport
The aforementioned visas provide a solid indication of the United States’ view to be a stronghold for investments. Alongside this, a US passport provides the passport holder visa-free or visa on arrival access to 172 countries or territories. Factoring in quality of life to this ranking, in our Enhanced Mobility Index, the US ranks at number 10 – the third-highest country that is not a member of the European Union (EU), after Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
A key reason for this is that the United States has negotiated treaties and there are established agreements in place that allow citizens easy access to countries and territories. If a country wishes to trade with other countries, then it must open its borders, to some extent, to its citizens. Otherwise, there would be long visa processes that would slow down and hinder negotiations.
Another important factor is that the country is politically and economically stable – as can be seen in the top-ranking passports.
Quality of life in the United States
The index that the United States performed the least well in was the Quality of Life Index. However, the strong investment opportunities on offer in the USA, and the mobility of a US passport holder secure its prime position.
While the USA ranks very highly in many aspects related to the quality of life – sustainable development, freedom, environmental performance, migrant acceptance, and the happiness level, the cost of living is high in the USA, leading to it falling down the rankings in the Quality of Life Index.
However, the USA is at the forefront of innovation, which has been making inroads on the country’s level of sustainable development and environmental performance.
Alongside this, the USA is a pillar of democracy, providing a clear constitution for fairness and transparency in political decisions and in freedom of speech. The USA is also one of the countries with the biggest reputation for its high acceptance of migrants, according to the Migrant Acceptance Index.