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23 February 2024

Visa-free travel: UAE has most powerful passport in the region

Expatriates with permanent residency permits for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can now apply online for visas to enter the UAE. (Dennis B. Mallari)

By Shuchita Kapur

The UAE has the top-ranked passport in the region, according to a new global index on the most powerful passports.

According to immigration advisory firm Arton Capital’s Passport Index, the UAE passport offers visa-free travel to 72 countries, and is ranked at No. 47 in the world.

The index is an online interactive tool that collects, displays and ranks the passports of the world based on the number of countries that passport-holders are allowed to travel visa-free.

The US and UK passports are ranked a joint No. 1 globally, with their passport-holders allowed visa-free access to 147 countries.

Tied at No. 2 in the world are passports from South Korea, Germany and France, with passport-holders of these countries allowed visa-free access to 145 countries.

At No. 47, the UAE is ranked along with Peru and Dominica, with passport-holders of all three nations allowed visa-free access to 72 countries.

Earlier this year, the UAE became the first Arab nation whose citizens enjoy a visa waiver to the 26 Schengen countries, which make up the bulk of Europe. This made the UAE passport much stronger than its regional peers in the passport power list.

In the region, Qatar follows the UAE and is ranked No. 52 globally. Qatari passport-holders are allowed visa-free access to 66 countries. Kuwait is ranked at third place regionally and at No. 54 globally (visa-free access to 64 nations), followed by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, both ranked at No. 57 globally, and whose passport-holders can travel visa-free to 61 countries.

Oman is ranked at No. 63 globally, with Omani passport-holders allowed visa-free access to 54 nations.

Arton Capital specialises in investor programmes for residency and citizenship, launched the ‘Passport Index’, the world’s first online interactive tool, which collects, displays and ranks the passports of the world.

“Working in an industry that is so sensitive to origin and nationality, we wanted to display the diversity, the beauty and the power of world's passports,” Armand Arton, President and CEO of Arton Capital explains.

India is ranked at No. 59, with Indian passport-holders allowed visa-free access to 59 countries.

The Passport Index ranking is based on points accumulated for each country that the passport holder can travel visa-free. The country list is based on the 193 UN member countries and 6 territories for a total of 199. The territories annexed to other countries are excluded. For the visa-free count, Iata's Timaticweb platform and other sources are consulted.

At the bottom of the list are the passports of Solomon Islands, Myanmar (Burma), South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe.