Here are the most powerful passports for 2024 — Switzerland tops the list

Many passport rankings focus on one factor: visa-free travel.

But passport strength is more complex than this, according to the tax and immigration consulting firm Nomad Capitalist.

That’s why it produces a weighted annual index that analyzes five criteria:

  1. Visa-free travel — 50%
  2. Taxation — 20%
  3. Global perception —10%
  4. Ability to hold dual citizenship — 10%
  5. Personal freedom (freedom of the press, mandatory military service, etc.) — 10%

The 2024 Nomad Passport Index states: “Citizens of different countries deal with very different requirements to pay tax, live freely, comply with regulations, and avoid scrutiny when traveling. In that regard, the number of countries a passport holder may visit does not tell the whole story.”

Best passports in the world

Switzerland topped this year’s ranking, followed by Ireland and Portugal.

Here’s the top 50 list:

A slight corporate tax adjustment in Ireland was more than offset by its top scores for travel and global perception, according to Nomad Capitalist’s research team.

“Portugal tied with Ireland in all but personal freedom, emphasizing its steady appeal, while Finland —known for its vast visa-free travel options — now ranks fourth, highlighting the importance of global accessibility,” it said.

But the “standout development” is the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE was No. 1 in 2023, but slipped to a sixth place tie this year with countries like the Netherlands, Germany and New Zealand, according to the research team. The drop was caused by a change in UAE tax policy that affected domestic and overseas company owners, including residents with foreign company ownership, it said.

Bulgaria is one to watch, according to the team. Its passport rose from 42nd in the index to 32nd in two years, largely because of its entrance into Europe’s Schengen zone scheduled to happen in late March, it said.

Hong Kong slipped from 44th place in 2022 to 50th place this year, while Macao ranks 69th and China sits much further down the list in 120th place.

The complete list can be viewed at Nomad Capitalist’s website.

Many people are curious to know how their passports compare to their global peers, but that’s not why Nomad Capitalist produces the annual ranking, it said.

The company helps people obtain second, or even third citizenships — otherwise known as a “passport portfolio,” said company CEO Andrew Henderson, adding that many do so to reduce their tax burdens or to have a back-up residency plan.