Maltese citizens are among the most powerful passport holders with visa-free access to over 150 countries and territories, according to the VisaGuide.World Passport Index for 2023.
The index gave Malta a score of 88.49, putting it just behind Austria (88.65) and ahead of Norway (88.48).
Maltese citizens are also able to visit 42 countries with only an Identity card, without needing to carry a passport. This is largely attributed to the Schengen Area, a European Union-led agreement between 27 countries (not all of which are in the EU) where the need to use a passport for internal cross-border travel was abolished.
However, Maltese citizens are also able to visit a number of other countries outside of the Schengen Area with only an ID card, including Turkey, Georgia, Serbia, and Macedonia.
Regarding the countries which Maltese passport holders need a visa to enter, there are a few differences.
For 10 of the countries, Maltese passport holders can apply for a visa online, and for another 31 countries, such as Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, Maltese passport holders can apply for a visa as soon as they arrive in the country.
Only 30 countries have the most restrictive measure on Maltese passport holders, which requires them to make an appointment with a visa centre in Malta to submit an application. These countries include China, Russia, North Korea and Syria.
This result contrasts slightly with the Henley Passport Index published earlier in 2023, which found that Malta’s passport was the eighth most powerful passport in the world. The differences is likely in the methodology in which the two companies assessed their scores.
Meanwhile the top three powerful passports were from Japan, Singapore and Italy, all which secured a score above 89.
The three weakest passports came from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Their passport holders only have visa-free access to fewer than 10 countries.
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The feature was originally launched in 2016 but has since developed and become more interactive to attract new users