It turns out, not America is first but Sweden, at least when it comes to “value of citizenship”. According to the annual report of the international consultancy company Nomad Capitalist – the Swedish passport is the most powerful in the world. The company prepared their document comparing 199 countries. 50% of the ranking is based on the opportunities for Visa-free travel because “the most important value of a passport is the travel opportunities it affords”. The rest of the criteria is: 20% – country taxation, and 10% on perception, dual citizenship and overall freedom.
Like the UK (16th position) and the USA (35th position), Swedish people can travel Visa-free in approximately 176 countries, but their passport is more powerful because they get top marks in terms of personal freedoms, lowest imprisonment rate, freedom of speech and press and flexible taxation policy.
“We believe that no one should be forced to pay tax by virtue of their citizenship alone. This index relied on data from our personal experience with clients, our network of tax advisors around the world, and each country’s tax agency or embassy, to determine how nonresident citizens are taxed,” the report states. In that category, each country received a score between 10 and 50, where 10 means “citizens are taxed on their worldwide income no matter where they lived” and 50 – “citizens are not taxed on any income no matter where they live”. The United States and the African country of Eritrea are the only countries with the lowest 10 score, while tax havens like Monaco, Brunei and the Bahamas are hitting the top with 50 points.
Perhaps it is no surprise that all of the top ten countries in the Nomad Capitalist ranking are EU members. Sweden is followed by Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Some of the countries share the same positions for scoring the same points.
The bottom of the chart is also not unexpected. Afghanistan is the country that provides the least opportunities for travel to its citizen – only 25 other states will accept Visa-free Afghan tourists. The country has high taxation, not much of personal freedom (20 out 50 points) and it forbids its people to have more than one citizenship. Iraq, Eritrea, Pakistan, Libya and Syria are among the other restrictive countries.
The Nomad Capitalist was founded by Andrew Henderson, a “perpetual traveler, entrepreneur, and investor” in 2012. The company offers financial advice to other entrepreneurs working globally. The firm has prepared The Nomad Passport Index for the last 6 years.