It turns out that not all passports are created equal…

International residence and citizenship experts Henley & Partners released a report earlier this month detailing for the first time the level of ease with which people of various countries are able to travel around the globe, and what restrictions they face during their time abroad.

The more fortunate among us are undoubtedly well aware that, with a valid passport, they are relatively free to travel wherever they like, and can in some cases remain in a foreign country for months at a time without acquiring any kind of paperwork or additional visa approval. But there are also many countries out there whose governments require citizens to jump through a series of hoops before allowing them to leave the country for so much as a weekend, and even then their entry to another country is not always guaranteed.

Henley & Partners’ Visa Restriction Index ranks countries based on how easy it is for their citizens to travel around the globe, essentially providing a numerical value to any given country’s passport. After comparing everything from socio-economic factors to political relations between countries, each country is awarded a score, reflecting just how free to travel and enter other countries its people are; in a word: passport power.

Although we’re positive that the makers didn’t have anything of the sort in mind when building the Visa Restriction Index, it’s hard to look at these figures without imagining each country as a guest at a swanky penthouse party. Of course, attitudes and alliances change from year to year, and not everyone’s going to see eye-to-eye on every issue, but when the party starts to wind down and everyone decides to head to a club, it’s always interesting to see who’s sharing a taxi with whom…

Relatively sociable Japan came in joint fifth in the international ranking with a decent 165 points, joining countries like Spain and Norway. The US, meanwhile, shares fourth place with Italy and Luxembourg, presumably piling into a cab while discussing everything from “what makes a good pizza?” to the state of the Euro and how it’s affecting American oil prices. This writer’s native UK –perhaps in part thanks to the success of this year’s Olympic Games– came in third place with a respectable 167 points, suggesting that, despite decades of exuberant flag planting and cucumber sandwich parties, no one really considers us much of a threat any more,while Germany took second place. China, however, brought up the rear with its notoriously strict travel restrictions earning it just 41 points, putting the country in 92nd place.

Good news if you’re Danish, though- your passport is welcome pretty much everywhere, as the country was awarded an impressive 169 points, putting it in first place. Which just goes to show- everyone loves a good pastry.

Source: Record China