The UAE passport has maintained its position as the strongest in the region, with its global ranking improving by three positions. It is now the 12th most powerful passport worldwide, according to the latest Henley Passport Index. UAE passport holders can travel to 179 countries without a visa, an increase from 178 countries last year and 176 in July 2022.
Over the past 10 years, the UAE has made significant progress, climbing 44 places in the ranking from 56th to 12th. This is the largest leap among all countries, almost double that of the next biggest climber, Colombia. The rankings are based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In the GCC region, Qatar ranks second with the 52nd most powerful passport globally, followed by Kuwait (54), Bahrain (59), Oman (60), and Saudi Arabia (61).
The Henley & Partners report highlights the increased openness displayed by GCC countries, particularly the UAE and Oman. The UAE’s openness score has increased from 58 to 80 since 2018, while Oman’s has jumped from 71 to 106 over the same period. The report suggests that a Schengen-style visa to facilitate smoother travel between GCC countries is under consideration, which could further boost the region’s rankings and visibility.
Globally, Japan, which held the top spot for the past five years, has been dethroned and now ranks third. Singapore has claimed the title of the most powerful passport, with its citizens enjoying visa-free access to 192 destinations out of 227. Germany, Italy, and Spain share the second spot with visa-free access to 190 destinations, while Japan joins Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden in third place with access to 189 destinations without a prior visa.