08:04 GMT +317 October 2019
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    The new German electronic passport is presented during an official press conference on February 23, 2017 in Berlin

    Germany Tops Travel Freedom Rating in 2018, Research Shows

    © AFP 2019 / John MACDOUGALL
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Germany maintains its travel freedom leadership for the fifth consecutive year, with its citizens enjoying visa-free access to 177 countries, the Henley & Partners Group’s 2018 Passport Index revealed on Tuesday.

    Based on data from the International Air Transport Association and its own research, the Henley Passport Index ranks all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.

    On the global ranking, Germany is followed by Singapore with visa-free access to 176 countries. The third place on the index is shared by eight countries — Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the UK – with visa-free access to 175 countries.

    The top 10 countries with the greatest level of travel freedom are mostly represented by members of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association, joined by already mentioned Singapore and Japan, as well as South Korea and the United States, sharing the fifth place, Canada, ranked sixth on the index, Australia and New Zealand, holding the seventh place.

    The Henley & Partners Group’s press release emphasized that despite Brexit’s uncertainty and "a more isolationist, immigration-hostile policy among traditional migrant-receiving countries such as the US," countries had either improved or maintained their access compared to 2017. The consulting group referred to the countries’ continuing interest in "tapping into the immense economic value that tourism, international commerce, and migration can bring."

    The press release also noted that Ukraine (44th place) and Moldova had climbed the index following EU visa liberalization, with Russia sharing the 48th place with the latter, offering visa-free access to 110 countries, which is by four countries more than in the previous year.

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    The index also reflected the remaining "global mobility divide," with Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan continuing to occupy the bottom four ranks on the index and Africa suffering the most dramatic decline in travel freedom.

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