The United Arab Emirates now has the world’s most powerful passport, according to a new ranking, with its citizens able to travel to the greatest number of countries visa-free.
Passport Index, which keeps track of how useable such documents are, said the Middle Eastern state grabbed the top spot after four more countries were added to its list of visa-free destinations from December 1.
It beat last year’s number one, the Singaporean passport, which is joint second with Germany, which was also in this spot in 2017. The U.S passport moves up three places from last year and is joint third and the UK remains joint fourth.
Passport Index bases its ranking on the cross-border access a holder has. It was developed by Canada-based global consultancy Arton Capital.
UAE passport holders can now travel to 167 countries either without a visa at all, or can have one issued on arrival.
It has raced up the passport ranking – last year it didn’t even feature in the top ten.
Welcoming the news, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s leader, tweeted: ‘Congratulations to the UAE and its people and big thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s teams.’
The Singaporean and German passports offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 166 countries worldwide.
1. United Arab Emirates
2. Singapore, Germany
3. Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Korea and USA
4. Belgium, Austria, Japan, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland and Canada and United Kingdom
5. Czech Republic and Hungary
6. Malta, Iceland, New Zealand
7. Malaysia, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia and Australia
9. Romania and Bulgaria
10. Cyprus and Liechtenstein