Most Powerful Passports Revealed

May 31, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. global / ˈgloʊ bəl / (adj.) – involving the whole world
Example: Brazil wishes to expand its global market.

2. rank / ræŋk / (v.) – to place in a particular level or position
Example: Panama ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world.

3. visa / ˈvi zə / (n.) – an official authorization that allows a person to travel or enter a country or territory
Example: Lauren was granted her US visa.

4. hassle / ˈhæs əl / (n.) – anything that causes difficulty or trouble
Example: Traveling with a big suitcase can be a hassle.

5. residency / ˈrɛz ɪ dən si / (n.) – the time when a person lives in a place
Example: My residency in Japan ended last month.


Read the text below.
A consulting firm has revealed the recent ranking of the most powerful passports in the world.

Henley [HEN-lee] and Partners, a global consulting firm in charge of citizenship and residence planning, analyzed a number of passports from countries around the world. It ranked the passports based on the visa regulations of countries and territories and the number of countries where citizens are allowed to visit without needing a visa. The consulting firm used the Visa Restrictions Index to rank the countries’ passports.

The ranking showed that Finland, Germany, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom have the most powerful passports, as their citizens can travel in 174 countries even without a visa. Canada and Denmark, whose citizens have visa-free access to 173 countries, came in second. Among the countries that ranked third were Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands, whose citizens can travel to 172 countries visa-free.

On the other hand, the firm found that the lowest ranking passport was Afghanistan, as its citizens can travel only to 28 countries without a visa. It was followed by Iraq, Somalia [soh-MAH-lee-uh, -MAHL-yuh], Pakistan, and the Palestinian Territory.

To avoid the hassle of getting a visa to visit another country, many people apply for a second passport or citizenship.  Depending on the country, some options in acquiring a second passport include residency, ancestry, economic contribution, and marriage. Among the countries allowing second passports are Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis [NEE-vis], and Austria.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think is the importance of ranking the passports of countries worldwide?
·         If you were to apply for a second passport, from where would it be and why?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some countries do not require a visa for tourists? 
·         Do you think your country should become stricter when it comes to accepting tourists? Why or why not?

May 31, 2015