An offshore consulting firm, Nomad Capitalist, has compiled its annual list of the best passports for global entrepreneurs.
The top 10
The Nomad Passport Index (NPI) scores 199 citizenships around the world on the following five criteria to determine which is the most valuable for business men and women: visa-free travel, taxation laws, global perception, dual citizenship, and personal freedom.
In first place, for a fourth year in a row, is Luxembourg due to, primarily, its relative ease of obtaining citizenship for expatriates. Ireland, tied with Sweden, comes in at number two for having one of Europe's lowest corporate tax rates. In an interview with the Irish Times, Nomad Capitalist's CEO—Andrew Henderson— explains that:
Ireland offers one of Europe's lowest corporate tax rates, yet its passport's visa scores are among the highest. The country's excellent reputation makes travelling as an Irish citizen generally hassle-free.
Rounding out the top ten include: Switzerland and Belgium tying at number four, Finland and Portugal sharing the number six spot and finally Singapore (the only non-european country to have made the top 10) the Czech Republic and the Netherlands all tie in eighth place.
A decline for the US and the UK
Unfortunately for UK passport holders, it appears having British citizenship is not the most favourable for those looking to venture out in business opportunities elsewhere in the world. According to the ranking, the UK has dropped to the number 19th spot. Most surprising of all, the US passport places at number 42 having lost the most amount of prestige over the last 12 months. Henderson says that:
The U.S. passport slid to #42 on our list of the best passports this year, and I think more people—especially wealthy people—are seeing that not only will their government not protect them, but they'll send them an even larger tax bill for the privilege. I've never heard so many people say, 'Five years ago, I never thought it would be this bad.'