Hong Kong passport places 18th in global power rankings

Within Asia, city falls behind Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea to take fifth place

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 10:13am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 10:16am

The Hong Kong passport is ranked 18th in the world in terms of visa-free access, according to an index gauging the “power” of such documents.

And within Asia, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport is placed fifth in Asia, behind those from Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea, but still ahead of passports for Taiwan, Macau and mainland China.

The document offers visa-free access to 139 countries or jurisdictions, according to the Passport Index, though this figure deviates from the Immigration Department’s official tally, which indicates visa-free access to 157 countries and territories as of October 28 last year.

Hong Kong Chinese with two passports want best of both worlds

Another passport commonly held by Hongkongers born before the handover – the British National (Overseas) or BNO passport – is exempt from visa arrangements for 189 jurisdictions.

Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung warned however that BN(O) passport holders might not be recognised by British consulates overseas, as they were not considered British citizens. He strongly recommended that travellers carry a Hong Kong passport instead.

“[If you have an accident], you can seek help directly from the Chinese embassy,” he said, referring to situations where BN(O) passport holders might have to contact the Hong Kong government should British consular officials refuse to offer assistance.

“Past experiences such as the recent earthquake in New Zealand showed that the Chinese embassy provided swift response to Hong Kong residents there,” Tung added.

Hong Kong SAR passports slide down to 20th in global power rankings

Compiled by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital, the Passport Index compares passports around the world by counting the number of countries each passport can access without visas or with visa-on-arrival arrangements.

In the latest update, Germany led with a score of 157, while Singapore’s passport became the most “powerful” in Asia at 156, placing it second in the world.

Japan came second in Asia at 154, followed by Malaysia at 153, South Korea at 152 and Hong Kong at 139.

China, meanwhile, was ranked 66th in the world with a score of 57.