Hong Kong Passport Ranks 13th Most Powerful In The World
Hong Kong held the world's 13th most powerful passport and ranked at the sixth spot within Asia, according to the report gauging the power of passports in different countries and territories.
The report was compiled by the Arton Capital, a Canada-based global financial advisory, ranking the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories by counting the number of each passport can visit without the need of applying for a visa. The six territories include the Vatican, Palestinian Territories, Kosovo, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport climb up five places, wherein it was ranked 18th in 2017. Hong Kong passport holders can visit 150 countries without the need of obtaining a visa, including 35 offering visas on arrival and 115 visa-free countries.
But, according to the South China Morning Post, the figure differs from the official tally by the Hong Kong Immigration Department, indicating visa-on-arrival or visa-free access to 163 countries and territories as of October 12 this 2018. But, the information also noted that some conditions apply in some cases.
British National (Overseas) or BN(O) passport holders, on the other hand, were permanent residents of Hong Kong until 1 July 1997, which exempts them from making visa arrangements for 118 countries and territories.
Hong Kong legislator Yiu Si-wing said he was pleased with Hong Kong passport's ranking and he hoped the government would step up negotiating with more countries to allow visa-free access among Hong Kong travelers.
"It is certainly helpful to the development of Hong Kong tourism if more countries allow Hong Kong passport holders visa-free privilege," Yiu also said. But he added it would be difficult to strike a visa-free deal with some countries, including the United States as the country has anti-terrorism concerns.
Meanwhile, United Arab Emirates (UAE) passport ranked first in the world and in Asia this 2018, while Singapore and South Korea ranked second and third in Asia, accordingly. German and Singaporean passports shared the second one the world's list this year.
The UAE has visa-free access to 167 countries, while Germany and Singapore can visit 166 countries. The third spot includes Denmark, Swede, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Korea, and the US - with access to 165 countries.
Taiwan was at the 28th spot (131 countries), Macau ranked 29th (129 countries), and China ranked 58th (75 countries). Five countries at the bottom of the list include Somalia (89th) with access to 38 countries, Syria (90th) with 36 countries, Pakistan (91st) with 32 countries, Iraq (92nd) with 32 countries, and Afghanistan (93rd) with only 29 countries.