It's official. New Zealand citizens are now the holders of the world’s most powerful passport.
In the latest Passport Index rankings, NZ’s little black book knocked Japan from joint top position, with 129 nations now granting visa-free access to New Zealand citizens.
Last week, it was announced that New Zealanders would be able to travel to some parts of Australia without quarantining, making Australia the most recent addition to the list of countries welcoming Kiwis.
The Passport Index compares the passports of 193 UN member countries. And according to the New Zealand Herald, the NZ passport has been moving upwards in the index for years.
But at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealanders were technically only granted visa-free travel to around 49 countries. While this has grown by 80 places, it still represents a fall of 40 countries since 2019.
Following NZ on the latest index, alongside Japan, are Australia, South Korea, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Ireland (all with 128 nations).
Falling within the Schengen ‘free movement’ zone, which allows for more relaxed travel during COVID-19, European countries account for the majority of the top 20 nations on the list.
Meanwhile, the United States has fallen to a record low 21st place in the rankings – below Mexico – thanks largely to the impact of coronavirus on the country.
As in Australia, the NZ Government has told its citizens not to travel overseas at this time. And Kiwis currently overseas have been told to prepare to stay where they are.
“Due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home, New Zealanders overseas need to take steps to stay safely where they are and shelter in place,” it states on the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
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