THE IRISH passport has been ranked as the fifth most useable passport in the world, according to an authoritative updates ranking of all the world’s passports.
The ranking by Henley & Partners gives 'scores' to each passport which depends on number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
An Irish passport received a score of 187, tying with Portugal.
In first place are Japan and Singapore, each receiving 192, following by Germany and South Korea (190).
In third were Spain, Luxembourg, Italy and Finland with 189 each.
Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands and Sweden each received a score of 188.
The United States ranked in sixth position with 186 points, as did the United Kingdom.
The least useable passport are those from Afghanistan, which received a score of just 26 points.
The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations.
For each travel destination, if no visa is required for passport holders from a country or territory, then a score with value = 1 is created for that passport.
A score with value = 1 is also applied if passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering the destination.
Where a visa is required, or where a passport holder has to obtain a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) before departure, a score with value = 0 is assigned.
A score with value = 0 is also assigned if passport holders need pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival, as this is not considered 'visa-free'.
Therefore, an Irish passport holder can enter 187 countries with no visa or by receiving a visa on arrival into a country.
The Henley Passport index has been ongoing for 17 years. On average, an individual passport holder in 2006 could enter 57 countries without needing to acquire a visa in advance.
That number has increased to 107 today, but the disparity between countries in the global north and those in the global south is still large.
Citizens of low-income countries, as well as ones with higher fragility scores, enjoy far less travel freedom because they are deemed to be high-risk when it comes to security, asylum, and overstay, the study shows.
This deepening divide in international mobility between wealthier countries and poorer ones was brought into sharp focus late last year with the arrival of the highly infectious Omicron variant, which was met with a raft of punitive restrictions against mainly African nations that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described as akin to "travel apartheid".