Good news for travelers: Italian passport it is officially classified among the most powerful among those in circulation, because it allows travel, without a visa, to 194 countries. This is what the international ranking decreed this year.Henley Passport Index» – which also places four EU states at the top of the ranking for the first time, including Italy. What makes this result even more important is the authority of this ranking, which is the only one based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The different weight of passports issued by nations

Often, European citizens – when they leave their continent to travel – are not aware of it, but Passports around the world are not all the same. Some of them, in fact, would have greater “weight” than similar documents from other states. This weight is determined by the number of destinations that can be reached, using a certain passport, without having to request a prior visa.

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Factors that make a given passport more or less “usable” when traveling abroad include: mostly, the political, economic and health conditions of the country which issued it. If a country experiences persistent political instability, is hit by an embargo, or is affected by terrorism, its passport will be more difficult to use. On the contrary, citizens inside Schengen – characterized by a stable internal situation – can move easily around the world.

The Italian passport gives greater freedom of movement

Since 2006 the Henley & Associates – British consultancy firm – publishes each year a ranking of the most powerful passports in the world. To establish it, the identification documents issued by different countries are compared to 227 possible destinations. Each passport therefore scores equal to the number of states that accept it without a visa.

This year, revealing an unprecedented figure, the Henley & Associates placed the passports of six nations at the top of the ranking, including Italy. To the passports of Japan and of Singapore – already in the lead before – were added those of four European states: Italy, France, Germany and Spain.

Citizens of these countries can enter without a visa – or, in some cases, with a visa obtained on arrival – into 194 nations out of 227 (the total taken into account by the ranking). Therefore, the Italian passport – although it has also obtained good scores in the past – will in 2024 be at the top of the ranking, among those that allow more freedom of movement.

The Italian passport: a “business card” for the country

What gives such strength to the Italian passport is not only the stability of the Bel Paese in the eyes of the world. Another factor is the widespread presence of Italian diplomatic representations abroad.: a clear indication that Italy has good relations with most nations. In 2020, the Peninsula entered the Top ten countries with the most diplomatic offices in the world – between embassies, consulates general and permanent missions.

Of course, the prestige a document enjoys also exposes it to certain risks. Concerning the phenomenon of passport falsification, for example, the Italian passport is one of the most counterfeited in the world. But beyond these aspects – which the competent authorities must monitor – the most important fact remains: if it is true that a passport is the “business card” of a country, the Italian accomplishes its task in the best possible way.

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