Not all passports are created equal, and a strong passport makes traveling around the world a whole lot more breezy. On the other hand, if one has a weaker passport from a certain country, he may find himself inevitably chalking up a lot of visa fees and experiencing delays.

Recently, the Nomad Passport Index released its findings for 2017, and there are very few surprises. The index uses a weighted approach, and it considers a host of factors to come up with rankings, including visa-free travel; taxation; perception; dual citizenship; and overall freedom.

Interestingly enough, visa-free travel and taxation account for 70 percent of the ranking. With visa-free travel, Germany scored the highest as citizens of the country can visit 177 countries without a visa, and the United States scored well too as its citizens can visit 174 countries without having to obtain a visa before arrival.

With that being said, both Sweden and Belgium offer plenty of visa-free travel opportunities too, in addition to having a fairer taxation system for its citizens. And that's the reason why Sweden and Belgium's passports have been ranked at number one and two respectively. Here are the top ten passports in the world for this year:

  • #1 Sweden
  • #2 Belgium
  • #3 (tie) Italy
  • #3 (tie) Spain
  • #5 Ireland
  • #6 (tie) Finland
  • #6 (tie) Germany
  • #8 (tie) Denmark
  • #8 (tie) Switzerland
  • #8 (tie) Luxembourg

Meanwhile, the United States came in at the 35th spot – tied with Slovenia. And while U.S. citizens can travel to 174 countries without needing to get a visa in advance, the country still scored low when it came to its perception overseas and its taxation rules. At the bottom of the list are Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Pakistan and Libya.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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N/A

17.49% - 24.49% Variable

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Why we like it
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Excellent Credit
Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Travel Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

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  • 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
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0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases

16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

$0

Why we like it
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
Excellent/Good
Capital One<sup>®</sup> Venture<sup>®</sup> Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
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  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

N/A

14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Why we like it
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
We least like
  • No low introductory APR period.
Excellent, Good