(CNN) — It's been a three-horse race this year to be named the world's most powerful passport, with all top three contenders in Asia.
Now, as we enter the second half of 2019, Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world's most travel-friendly passports, with South Korea dropping into second place.
That's the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country's travel document affords.
Singapore and Japan's passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 189 countries each.
South Korea is now rubbing shoulders with Finland and Germany in the second tier, with citizens of all three countries able to access 187 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.
Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan's formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates -- but not, notably, the United States or the UK.
The European countries of Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg hold third place in the index, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries, while France, Spain and Sweden are in the fourth slot, with a score of 185.
Five years ago, the United States and the UK topped the rankings in 2014 -- but both countries have now slipped down to sixth place, the lowest position either has held since 2010.
While the Brexit process has yet to directly impact on the UK's ranking, the Henley Passport Index press release observes, "with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain."
The United Arab Emirates continues its ascent up the rankings, entering the top 20 for the first time in the index's 14-year history. In just five years, the UAE has more than doubled the number of jurisdictions its citizens can enter without a prior visa.
Courtesy of edition.cnn.com