The Henley Passport Index, drawn up by London-based consultation firm Henley & Partners, uses data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and found that the most valuable passport anyone can hold is a Japanese one since this allows nationals to travel to 191 countries without needing a visa.
A Singaporean passport is the next best thing, as its holders can travel to 190 countries without a visa, and a German or South Korean passport are joint third, permitting entry to 189 countries visa-free.
Finland and Italy are joint fourth, allowing visa-free travel to 188 countries, whilst Spain comes fifth along with Luxembourg and Denmark, all of whose passports let their holders get into 187 countries without a visa.
A Spanish passport beats a French or Swedish one, which allows for visa-free travel to 186 countries.
Joint seventh, permitting the holder to get into 185 countries without a visa, are passports held by citizens of Austria, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland.
Although the figures have only just been released, they are based upon the value of international passports as at January 7, when the UK had not yet left the European Union, although this was on the cards at the time – on that date, and still, the 28th member State, a passport from Britain was joint eighth along with Belgium, Greece, Norway and the USA, and its holders could get into 184 countries without a visa.
With 183 visitable countries, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Malta and New Zealand came next, and the top 10 was completed by Hungary, Lithuania and Slovakia, whose passports permit travel to 181 countries without a visa.
The lowest-ranked EU passport was from Croatia, giving entry to 169 countries, just below Bulgaria (171) and Romania (172) and just above San Marino (168) and Andorra (167).
For continental Europe, not counting the former Soviet States, and Kosovo – the lowest-ranking were Turkey (111 countries), Albania (114), Bosnia-Herzegovina (117), North Macedonia (123), Montenegro (125), Serbia (133, along with El Salvador and Hondurás), and Vatican City (146, together with Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago).
A Kosovo passport only allows the holder into 40 countries – the same as Lebanon – fewer than practically the whole of Africa, except Sudan and Somalia.
As for the former Soviet nations, a passport from Turkmenistan gets the holder into 52 countries; from Uzbekistan, 57 countries; Tajikistan, 58; Armenia, 62; Kyrgyzstan, 63; Azerbaijan, 67; Kazakhstan, 76; Georgia, 116; Moldova, 120; Ukraine, 128 – along with Nicaragua; and Russia itself, joining Micronesia with 118 countries.
The poorest-ranking passports in the world, below Kosovo and with fewer than 40 countries available to travel to without a visa, are North Korea and Sudan (39), Nepal and Palestine (38), Libya (37), Yemen (33), Pakistan and Somalia (32), Syria (29), Iraq (28), and the least-valuable passport of all, from Afghanistan, whose citizens can only enter 26 countries without needing a visa.
The passport which has soared highest in the ranking in the last decade is that of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has gone up 47 places to number 18, level with Bulgaria at 171 countries.
A Spanish passport is, therefore, the fourth-most valuable in Europe, together with Luxembourg and Denmark, whilst a British passport is the 14th-most valuable, jointly with Belgium, Greece and Norway.
Spain was also the fifth-most useful passport in the world last year, although it then allowed entry without a visa into 186 countries, rather than 187.