4.36 AM Monday, 5 June 2023
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 03:59 05:25 12:20 15:41 19:10 20:36
05 June 2023

Best, worst passports in world - UAE best in ME

Germany holds the top position with a score of 177 out of a total of 218. (Shutterstock)

By Staff

Henley & Partners has launched its latest Visa Restrictions Index, showing which countries have the best passports when it comes to freedom of travel.

As the world becomes ever more globalised, individuals are increasingly living and conducting business on an international scale, with a second or even third residence or citizenship becoming an increasingly attractive option.

For individuals who hold passports of countries with fewer visa waiver agreements, a second passport can open up travel to countries previously restricted by time-consuming visa application requirements and processes.

This second passport gives a businessperson access to the global market, which in turn creates opportunities for growth.

But there continues to be a huge disparity in the levels of travel freedom between countries, despite the world becoming more mobile and interdependent.

Generally, visa requirements reflect strongly on each country's relationships with others, and will take into account diplomatic relationships between the countries, reciprocal visa arrangements, security risks, and the risks of visa and immigration rules violations.

Henley & Partners launched the Visa Restrictions Index online, offering viewers an analysis of the countries' progress and development since the Index was first published in 2006.

The 2016 Visa Restrictions Index Comparing the 2016 Index to previous years shows many interesting results.

Germany has retained its position in the top spot, with visa-free access to 177 countries out of a total of 218, while Sweden remained in second place with a ranking of 176.

The UK meanwhile, dropped from first to third place this year, after three consecutive years in first place.

A larger group of countries sit in third place, with Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the UK all having visa-free access to 175 countries.

Within the Arab region, the UAE’s passport has been ranked first for the second year in a row in the Visa Restrictions Index 2016.

The UAE has risen by two spots to 38, with visa-free access to 122 countries.

In 2015, UAE signed an agreement with the EU, which gave the country visa-free travel to 36 countries - including the 26 Schengen countries, making the UAE the first Arab country to be granted a European visa waiver.

Other GCC states too improved their standings in this year’s Index. Kuwait (57) and Qatar (60) both increased by six places, with visa-free access to 82 and 79 countries, respectively.

Bahrain (65), Oman (67) and Saudi Arabia (69) followed closely behind, with visa-free access to 73, 71 and 69 countries, respectively.

Globally, no country dropped more than three positions, indicating that overall, visa-free access is improving around the world.

Four countries in particular made huge gains; Tonga rising 16 spots, Palau by 20, Colombia by 25 and Timor Leste, a Southeast Asian nation, being the highest climber with an increase
of 33 ranks.

Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan meanwhile, continue to hold the bottom four positions on the Index, and thus have again been labelled the worst passports in the world.

The number of countries in the 'Top 10' remained static in this year's Index at 28 countries, with Hungary joining the category after one year of being pushed out, and Malaysia dropping to 12th position after three years in the premier group.


Best passport to own

Germany holds the top position with a score of 177 out of a total of 218

Sweden is ranked 2nd with visa-free access to 176 countries

In 3rd place: Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the UK, which all tied with visa-free access to 175 countries

Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and United States hold the 4th position

Some of the worst passport to own

Sudan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan


The Importance of Investment Migration

The growing importance of investment migration can be seen in steady growth of those countries offering residence and citizenship-by-investment programs.

Those countries with relevant programs continue to perform strongly and all now feature in the top 30 of the Index.

Malta, the European Union member country which runs the world’s most successful citizenship-by-investment program with over EUR 1 billion in capital raised since its launch in 2014, has gained visa-free access to another two countries since 2015, making it the 8th most powerful passport in the world.

The other key location of citizenship-by-investment in Europe, the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, also added two countries to its basket, ranking 17th on the Index with visa-free access to 159 countries.

The leading Caribbean citizenship-by-investment location, Antigua and Barbuda, ranked 30th and its passport-holders may now travel to 134 countries visa-free.

Portugal, which holds the most attractive residence-by-investment program through its Golden Visa Program, has taken 6th position in the 2016 Index, gaining two countries to total 172 countries its citizens may travel to visa-free.

The continued development of these countries demonstrates the critical nature of good visa-free access to countries offering investor migration programs.

In turn, this speaks of the importance of due diligence in such programs, since the reputation of a country's passport and its relationship with other countries is only as good as its newest citizens.

Also Read:

UAE passport most powerful in Middle East