PHL passport dips to 83rd rank in Henley’s 2021 index


Travel restrictions imposed by rich nations may have caused the Philippine passport’s ranking to plunge to its lowest level in 15 years according to the latest edition of Henley’s Passport Index.

The Philippine passport is now ranked 83rd out of 199 passports. The country shares this ranking with Zimbabwe, which also received an overall visa-free score of 65.

The highest ranking of the country in the index was in 2007 to 2009 when it maintained the rank of 62nd. Prior to 2021, the lowest rank of the Philippines in the index was in 2015 at 80th.

“Countries in the global north with high-ranking passports have enforced some of the most stringent inbound Covid-19-related travel restrictions, while many countries with lower-ranking passports have relaxed their borders without seeing this openness reciprocated,” Henley & Partners said in a news statement.

“This has created an ever-widening gap in travel freedom even for fully vaccinated travelers from countries at the lower end of the passport power ranking who remain locked out of most of the world,” it added.

Singapore ranked first overall with Japan given its visa free score of 192. Singapore is the only Asean country in the top 10.

This was followed by Malaysia which ranked 13th overall with a visa-free score of 179; Brunei, 23rd with a score of 166; and Timor-Leste, 62nd with a score of 93.

Thailand, which shared the 72nd ranking with Bolivia, China, and Saudi Arabia, had a visa-free score of 79. This was followed by Indonesia which ranked 78th with a score of 71 along with Tunisia and Zambia.

Other Asean countries, Cambodia and Vietnam, both ranked 95th overall received a visa-free score of 53 along with Chad, Comoro Islands and Niger. Myanmar, meanwhile, ranked 102nd with a visa-free score of 46.

“Covid-19 is as much an economic crisis as it is a public health one, though in both regards it disproportionately negatively affects migration origin countries,” Erol Yayboke, senior fellow with the International Security Program and director of the Project on Fragility and Mobility at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. said.

“Increased pressure to move for survival will be met with pandemic-related barriers to movement that are likely to linger, both because the virus itself is lingering and because increased control over migration will be difficult for some leaders to relinquish,” he added.

The Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

Originally created by Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, the ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information, and it is enhanced by extensive, ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.

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