UAE passport most powerful in Middle East

The UAE passport has been ranked first among Arab and Middle Eastern countries for the second year in a row in the Visa Restrictions Index 2016 released by Henley & Partners, the global leader in residence and citizenship planning.

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.

In the GCC, all member countries saw increases in this year's Index by at least five spots. 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.

The index, along with the unique cumulative data from the last 11 years, provides a global ranking of countries based on the freedom of travel for their citizens.

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