Picture for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The UAE is moving closer to getting its passport crowned among the most powerful in the world.

The UAE passport climbed one spot higher on the recently updated ranking of the best travel documents, moving from number eight to the seventh position on the Passport Index in about one month, thanks to ease of travel to 159 countries. Only a couple of years ago, Emirati citizens could travel visa-free to 88 countries.

“The UAE is the fastest growing passport in the history of passports,” said Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital.  

“For such a young country this is an exceptional achievement and all Emiratis should be proud of that. Rather than the need to look for second citizenships, UAE citizens already have the strongest passport in the Arab world and their mobility is rising. They should all be extremely pleased with that," Arton said in an emailed statement to Gulf News.

Now number one on the list is Singapore, along with Germany, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Korea and United States in the second place.

Most powerful passports in the world (Top 10)

  1. Singapore, Germany
  2. Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Korea, United States
  3. Belgium, Austria, Japan, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada
  4. Czechia, Hungary
  5. Malta, Malaysia, Iceland, New Zealand, Australia
  6. Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia
  7. UAE, Estonia
  8. Romania, Bulgaria
  9. Cyprus, Liechtenstein
  10. Croatia, Monaco 

Just last month, UAE nationals enjoyed visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 158 destinations around the globe. By the end of this month, Emirati citizens will be adding to their list one more country to visit freely, with the signing of a diplomatic agreement between the UAE and Mexico.

A memorandum of understanding was signed last October 11 stating that citizens of both countries with regular passports will be allowed visa-free entry with effect from October 31.

According to the Passport Index,  UAE citizens can travel to 112 destinations without securing a visa and to 47 countries with visa on arrival. There are 39 countries that still require UAE passport holders to secure a visa prior to departure.

The Passport Index by Arton Capital ranks the countries based on the number of destinations their citizens can travel to without applying for a permit prior to their travel.

Only about one year ago, when Emirati citizens could travel freely to just a little over 130 countries, the UAE announced that it would make its passport among the strongest in the world by 2021. By July 9 this year, the country entered the top ten rankings.

Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital, had told Gulf News he is confident that the goal will be reached earlier than planned, “possibly by the end of this year.”