The Henley Passport Index is the only passport index that is based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data, enhanced by extensive in-house research and updated regularly throughout the year.
In 2010, owners of the Rwandan passport could travel to 39 countries without a VISA but the latest IATA update shows can travel to 59 countries without prior visa approval.
That made the Rwandan passport move up from the 87th place on the list of powerful passports in 2010 to the 83rd place in 2020.
Visa-free travels have significant importance to global trade, global politics, and global economics. Rwanda is the only country in East Africa that has added as many destinations in the past 10 years. Kenya has added 6 destinations, Tanzania 9, Uganda 7 and Burundi 12 compared to 2010.
In the past 10 years, Rwanda has signed diplomatic agreements mainly to facilitate trade and removed VISA requirements for countries including Qatar, Singapore, and Indonesia. Improvement of the Henley Passport Index implies global importance in the sense of trade and geopolitics. It also facilitates Rwandans to travel to different countries especially for studies with no excessive requirements beforehand.
The Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration recently informed an improved VISA regime allowing travelers to receive a 30-days Visa upon arrival without prior application and pay a prescribed Visa fee.
Moreover, new electronic passports are being issued as instructed by the EAC technical specifications and IATA regulations. The electronic passport will counter attempts of forgery and identity theft as it cannot be tampered.
Owners of regular passports are required to reach out to the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration to exchange their passports with electronic ones by July 2021.
The top five passports of 2020 and the number of visa-free destinations:
1. Japan (191)
2. Singapore (190)
3. South Korea (189)
3. Germany (189)
4. Italy (188)
4. Finland (188)
5. Spain (187)
5. Luxembourg (187)
5. Denmark (187)
The least powerful passports in the world include:
North Korea (39)
Nepal, Palestine (38)
Somalia, Pakistan (32)