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U.S. passport value plummets to 19th; Singapore No. 1

By Allen Cone
U.S. passport value plummets to 19th; Singapore No. 1
The U.S. passport's ranking in 2017 was tied for 19th, according to the Passport Index. Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Ras67

Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. passport's ranking has declined since Donald Trump became president, according to the Passport Index.

The United States was tied for 19th with Malaysia, Ireland and Canada among 193 member countries of the United Nations and six internationally recognized territories, according to Arton Capital, which compiles the rankings. The index ranks the world's passports by the number of countries allowing holders to visit without applying for a visa. The U.S. passport grants holders the ability to travel visa-free to 154 countries.

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Since Trump became president in January, Turkey and the Central African Republic revoked the expedited process. The U.S. State Department banned travel to North Korea in September.

In 2015, the United States tied with the United Kingdom for first place.

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The No. 1 ranked country this year was Singapore, the first time an Asian country held the top spot.

"Singapore has constantly increased its passport strength since it became independent in 1965," Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital's Singapore office, told CNN. "This due to a smart and far-sighted foreign policy, excellent diplomacy and by understanding globalization as an opportunity.

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Singapore had a score of 159, one more than second-place Germany and two more than Sweden and South Korea. Countries bunched together at 156 included Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, Japan and United Kingdom.

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Next at 155 were Luxembourg, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Portugal.

In last place was Afghanistan, which has a score of 22, close below Pakistan and Iraq (26), Syria (29) and Somalia (34).

"Visa-free global mobility has become an important factor in today's world," said Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital, at the recent Global Citizen Forum in Montenegro. "More and more people every year invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a second passport to offer better opportunity and security for their families."

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