UAE passport is ‘most powerful’ in the Middle East – report

Following a visa-waiver agreement with EU, Emirati citizens can now travel to 113 countries without a visa



The United Arab Emirates passport has been named the ‘most powerful’ of the Middle East and North Africa countries in a report by consultants Henley & Partners.

Emirati citizens face the fewest travel restrictions out of the MENA restriction following a visa-waiver agreement with the European Union earlier this year.

According to the Visa Restrictions Index, published by the Dubai-based firm, Emirati citizens may now travel to a total of 113 countries visa-free after 36 EU states were added in May.

The UAE has also become the first Arab nation to be given an EU visa-waiver.

The annual report has now given the UAE an improvement in rank from 55 to 40, making the country one of 22 to have risen in the rankings since last year.

Marco Gantenbein said: “Europe, the US and Canada, as the world’s economic powerhouses, continue to dominate the top 10 as we anticipated.

“However, it’s the performance of the UAE which needs to be applauded for the implied improvement of its international relations, which is very much reflected in the improved ranking in the Henley & Partners Index.”

In the previous Visa Restriction Index report, published in January, the UAE moved up just one place in lieu of the visa-waiver’s introduction.

While Germany and the UK retained their top spots from the last report, Finland, Sweden and the US have all dropped down to second place.

Sierra Leone, which was blighted by the ebola virus for much of the previous year, • saw the biggest drop, losing 24 places, while war-torn Syria fell 16 places.

The four worst passports in the world remain Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan.

BEST PASSPORTS IN THE WORLD FOR TRAVEL

1. Germany, United Kingdom
Score: 173

2. USA, Sweden, Finland 
Score: 172

3. Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway 
Score: 171

4. Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain

Score: 170

5. Austria, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland
Score: 169

6. Australia
Score: 168

7. Greece, Malta
Score: 167

8. Iceland, Czech Republic 
Score: 164

9. Malaysia, Hungary
Score: 163

10. Slovakia
Score: 162

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