The United States possesses one of the most powerful passports in the world, a ranking established based on the number of destinations holders can access without a prior visa. The American, then, allows travel without obstacles to a total of 171 countries.

(Also: Portugal: this is how Colombians can travel without the need for a visa)

However, that ranking is higher in some European nations. In all, there are 13 that offer a greater degree of global access to their ‘investors’. For example, The United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Portugal They currently offer access to 172 nations, one more than the United States.

(You can read: Do you want to travel or work in Argentina? Here we explain how)

This is indicated by an investigation by Astons, a company of international experts in residence and citizenship through investment, which reveals that European passports have acquired more power than that of the United States in terms of the freedom of movement they offer.

(You may be interested in: Do you want to travel to Mexico? Learn about the entry requirements for Colombians)

«There is no denying that the United States is one of the most powerful passports in the world, but this perception of different power depending on the priorities of the investor«, says Alena Lesina, an immigration expert at Astons.

The company analyzed the most recent data on European countries that offer citizenship through investment or residence through investment with the long-term perspective of obtaining citizenship later.

(We recommend: Do you plan to migrate? These are the cheapest cities to live in Europe)

Thus, the study shows the requirements are ‘golden’ passports or ‘secondary golden visas’ which offer the added advantage of visa-free travel, a visa on arrival or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to the greatest number from foreign countries.

«For many high net worth individuals, the ability to travel without having to go through a laborious visa process each time is one of the main factors influencing investment in Golden Visas and Golden Passports,» points out Lesina, who explains that «there are several nations that offer a little more global mobility than the United States and for a considerably lower investment cost, although the time it takes to obtain citizenship or permanent residence varies.»

(In addition: Would you like to live in Spain? This new reform facilitates procedures for foreigners)

Research shows, for example, that there are other European nations that offer the possibility of unimpeded travel to an even greater number of countries.

Austria tops that list, as it allows access to 174 countries. However, with a minimum investment of $3.3 million, Austria is also by far one of the most expensive ‘golden passports’ to obtain. The granting of Austrian nationality is also the exclusive competence of the government, so there are no guarantees that applications will be approved.

(We recommend: Canada: these are the reasons why it is a country so open to receiving migrants)

However, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Malta and the Netherlands are located very close to Austria, as the seven nations allow unimpeded travel to a total of 173 foreign countries.

With a minimum investment of $276,392, an Italian passport ranks as the most powerful in the world with the most affordable cost when it comes to investing. Permanent residence in Italy can be obtained after five years through the Italian Start Up visaand citizenship by naturalization and Italian passport are possible 10 years after the initial granting of the visa.

Germany ($398,005), meanwhile, is also among the most affordable and globally accessible countries, as it allows investors who start a business that meets an economic need to obtain residency, before obtaining citizenship afterward. six to eight years.

(Also read: Day without a shadow: what is the phenomenon that occurs this week in various areas of Mexico)

Luxembourg and Spain have minimum investment thresholds of $552,785, and its residency-by-investment programs allow investors to apply for citizenship after five and ten years, respectively.

However, research suggests that perhaps the strongest of all is Malta and its Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization Program for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment.

Although the minimum investment threshold is slightly higher, $773,899, Malta is the only European country that offers a direct path to citizenship. With citizenship granted after three years of residence, it is also one of the fastest programs available to investors.

(Keep reading: Less than six hours a day: this is how you work in the country with the shortest working day)

«Malta is currently the most attractive country, both because of a fairly reasonable investment threshold, as well as the abundance of international mobility and the speed with which European citizenship is obtained,» explains Alena Lesina, an immigration expert at Astons, who adds that «Malta has a very favorable tax system, much more comfortable than, for example, the United States, which also makes it attractive in the eyes of investors.»

Finally, those who invest in the Netherlands through its Foreign Investor Business and Investment Visa can become permanent residents after five years, although the minimum investment threshold is higher at $1.381 million.