What’s the number one travel passport in the region?

October 31, 2017 4:50 pm

Woman with passport

Five Arab countries rank among the worst 10 when it comes to the most powerful passports in the world.

Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Iran rank at the bottom of the 2017 passport index.

On a scale from 1 to 95, passport ranking for Iraq is 93rd, Syria ranks in the 92nd place, Yemen (90), Sudan and Iran (89).

Lebanon and Libya are also among the worst ranking passports (88) with a visa free score of 37, the number representing how many it can enter without a visa.

On the other hand, the visa free score for Iraq is 26, Syria (29), Yemen (35), Sudan and Iran (36).

But where does the UAE stand on the 2017 passport index?

Read: Your face will be your first passport at Dubai airports

UAE tops GCC countries

The UAE ranks on the other side of the scale in the 26th place with a visa free score at 128.

UAE tops the list of Middle Eastern countries. It comes ahead of Kuwait which ranks in the 48th place with 85 visa free score and Qatar in the 50th place with visa free score of 80.

According to the index, Bahrain ranks in the 53rd place with a visa free score of 75 while Oman ranks in the 55th place with visa free score of 71.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia ranks in the 57th place with visa free score of 69.

According to the government.ae, UAE’s passport ranking was mainly boosted from its Schengen visa waiver obtained in 2015. The UAE is the first Arab nation whose citizens enjoy a visa waiver to the 26 Schengen countries, which make up most of Europe.

Read: Want a second citizenship? Invest in these countries

It added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) recently launched the UAE Passport Force initiative, with the view to place the State’s passport on the list of the five most important passports in the world by 2021 upon the directives of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

“UAE 2021 Vision aims to make the country one of the best countries in the world by the golden jubilee of the Union. It has stimulated the ministry to strengthen the State’s position in the international arena, and hence, launched the UAE Passport Force initiative to enable citizens to enter all world the countries without the need for pre-entry visa requirements,” it said.

While UAE tops the list of Arab countries with the most powerful passport, which passport is the best in the world?

World rankings

Singapore ranks top in the world on the 2017 most power passport index with visa free score of 159 followed by Germany in the 2nd place with visa free score of 158 and Sweden and South Korea in the 3rd place with visa free score of 157.

According to CNN Travel, Singapore ranks first thanks to a recent decision by Paraguay to remove visa requirements for passport holders of the Asian city-state.

Prior to Paraguay’s decision to remove visa restrictions, Singapore shared the number one spot on the Index with Germany, which has a passport score of 158, it said.

“This due to a smart and far-sighted foreign policy, excellent diplomacy and by understanding globalization as an opportunity. Unlike Schengen member countries [in Europe], Singapore decides alone who to grant visa-free access,” it said.

Read: Americans ‘openly exploring travel destinations in the Middle East’

“Singapore is not locked into a common travel zone (eg. with other ASEAN countries), and never had to impose visa restrictions on foreign nationals only because other ASEAN member countries have restrictions,” it added.

Meanwhile, CNBC says Singaporeans don’t need visas for many countries that Americans do, including China, Cuba, and Brazil. The U.S. was in the sixth tier of countries in Arton Capital’s study alongside Malaysia, Ireland and Canada.

“While Singapore quietly climbed the ranks, the U.S. passport has fallen down since President Donald Trump took office,” it quoted global financial advisory firm Arton Capital saying in a statement.

It said that Turkey recently revoked visa-free status to American passport holders on the back of a diplomatic row.

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By Dana Halawi
Senior Journalist
Dana Halawi has over seven years of experience in Journalism with articles published in multiple magazines and a newspaper in Lebanon. She specialized in Banking and Finance at the Lebanese American University and has a Master’s degree in International Affairs.



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