Vietnamese passport is still among world's least powerful in a global passport power ranking. Photo by Shutterstock
The Passport Index released early this month was commissioned by Arton Capital, a global financial advisory firm based in Singapore.
It ranked passports of 198 economies around the world based on the number of countries the holder can visit without first obtaining a visa or applying for one on entry.
According to the latest ranking, people holding a Vietnamese passport now have free access to 56 countries, compared to 48 last year.
In Southeast Asia, a Vietnamese passport has the same clout as one from Laos, is only more powerful than Myanmar. Meanwhile, Cambodia has surpassed Vietnam to claim 73rd position in the global index, climbing four spots from last year.
Singapore and Malaysia have the most powerful passports in the region with the former ranking 2nd with visa exemption from 166 countries and the latter standing 7th with 161 countries.
Thailand has witnessed drastic improvement in its global ranking to claim the 54th position. Thais can now travel to 80 countries and territories without applying for a visa, slightly higher than Indonesians with visa-free access to 76 countries.
The United Arab Emirates has overtaken Singapore and South Korea to have the most powerful passport in the world, with its citizens able to visit 167 of 198 countries and territories without applying for a visa.
South Korea is another strong Asian country, sharing third position with Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the U.S.
The American passport has lagged behind the UAE and is less powerful than Singapore since the Donald Trump administration began pursuing a hardline immigration policy.
People from poor, conflict-torn Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have the weakest passports, with visa free access to just 29-38 countries.