The Henley Passport Index for 2023 has just been released and turns out an Aussie passport is powerful AF. Although, there is some bad news: New Zealand has beaten us by one spot…

Each year the Henley index ranks the world’s passports according to how many countries its holder may enter without having to organise a visa ahead of time.

According to the full list published on Henley’s website, Australian passport holders may enter a grand total of 185 countries visa-free. This number has us tied for eighth place overall.

The elusive title of rank number one went to Japan whose passport allows holders to visit 193 countries without a prior visa.

Singapore and South Korea tied for the silver medal on 192.

Other countries up there in the mix were Germany, Spain, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria and Denmark.

Australia’s trans-Tasman rival New Zealand tied for number seven with 186 countries.

Um, excuse me. How could we let this happen? Paging Anthony Albanese, get to work, bucko!

At the other end of the ranking snagging the bottom rank out of 199 passports was Afghanistan. Afghanistan passport holders can only visit 27 countries visa-free.

Perched just above was Iraq with 29, Syria with 30, Pakistan with 32 and Yemen with 34.

So, you might be wondering how different countries decide which passport holders to let in visa-free.

Well, the most simplistic answer would be that has to do with diplomatic relations.

If two countries have excellent diplomatic relations between their governments, they’re more likely to permit entry to one another’s citizens without the hassle of extensive visa application paperwork.

A good example of this would be Australia and New Zealand.

Aussies arriving in NZ can pretty much just skip to the front of the queue whereas passport holders from other nations may need to show further documentation.

According to 7News, global travel is now at 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels which is a fab sign from the universe that we should get amongst it again. Yee haw!

That is, if you can actually get a passport due to the enormous COVID backlog…

Image: Atstock Productions via iStock