The Hungarian passport has been ranked joint 11th alongside Estonia on the 2019 Henley Passport Index, a global ranking of 199 passports according to the travel freedom of citizens that hold them, compiled by Henley & Partners, the global citizenship and residence advisory firm said in a press release.
Overall, the influence of Asian countries has grown, while that of U.K. and U.S. passports has declined.
The index, which is assembled using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) by Henley & Partners, is published annually and is the internationally recognized ranking of passports, according to the company.
Hungary, which ranked 10th in the previous three years, dropped a place this year, with its passport allowing citizens visa-free entry to 178 countries, including places such as Kazakhstan and New Zealand.
According to Henley & Partners, the Hungarian passport has been growing in importance in the past ten years since it came 18th in 2009. However, two of Hungaryʼs fellow V4 countries are now ranked higher, with Slovakia landing in 10th and the Czech Republic even better at 8th. The Polish passport ranks 16th.
At the top of the chart are Japan and Singapore, in joint 1st place, with Finland, Germany and South Korea tied for 2nd, and Denmark, Luxembourg and Italy tied in 3rd. Further down, the United Kingdom and the United States are tied in 6th; both had held first place in the past five years at some point. The bottom three places are occupied by Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Political science researchers Uğur Altundal and Ömer Zarpli say that visa-openness correlates to progressive reform. They say that “political rights, rule of law, security and democracy” could be profoundly affected in states like Great Britain and the U.S., which have been “embracing policies that limit freedom of movement” and have been declining on the index.
“This latest research appears to confirm something that many of us already knew intuitively: that increased visa-openness benefits the entire global community, and not just the strongest countries,” explains Henley & Partners Chairman Christian H. Kaelin.
The full ranking can be seen here.