Dubai: If you’re wondering which passport doesn't just take you to places, but also offers low taxes and lets you enjoy a lot of freedom, don’t look further than Sweden in Europe or UAE in the Middle East.
That’s according to Nomad Capitalist, an American firm that assists high-net-worth customers looking to diversify their portfolio and reduce tax obligations by relocating overseas.
The recently released Nomad Passport Index, which ranks nearly 200 citizenships around the world, has named the Scandinavian nation as the most ideal passport for the travelling elite, on the basis of visa-free travel, international taxation, reputation, dual citizenship and personal freedom.
The UAE has been ranked as the best passport within the Arab region, 70th globally, as it offers citizens visa-free access to 122 countries, followed by Kuwait (ranked 94th globally), Qatar (97th), Bahrain (105th) and Saudi Arabia (113th).
The UAE's ranking as the most powerful passport in the Middle East is testament to the fact that millionaires and billionaires are increasingly drawn to the idea of living in the country.
As previous studies have shown, thousands of millionaires move to the UAE every year, with last year alone seeing about 3,000 high-net-worth individuals migrating into the country. Foreigners, however, don't have the option to acquire or invest in a UAE citizenship.
In Sweden, the highest-rated passport globally and where foreigners have the option to obtain a citizenship, residents don’t just enjoy the privilege of travelling to 176 countries without a visa, they also enjoy an excellent reputation abroad.
They have the ability to hold two or multiple citizenships and can easily skip domestic taxes by choosing to reside overseas.
And if Swedish citizens opt to stay within the country, they are guaranteed to live freely since there are less restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press.
Sweden offers permanent residence permits to foreigners who have lived in the country for five years. After five years, permanent residence holders can then apply for a Swedish citizenship.
Belgium is another highly recommended passport for the rich. Ranked as the second-best passport overall, Belgium offers its citizens visa-free travel to 174 destinations, as well as relative tax freedom, open attitude toward other cultures and ability to hold two citizenships.
Spain, Italy and Ireland are also rated highly, occupying the rest of the top five best passports in the world. Rounding up the rest of the highly recommended passports to hold for the ultra-rich are Finland, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
Unlike other studies that rank citizenships mainly according to the number of countries that allow entry without a travel permit, the Nomad Passport Index evaluates the true value of citizenship based on five factors: visa-free travel (50 per cent of ranking), taxation (20 per cent), perception (10 per cent), dual citizenship (10 per cent) and overall freedom (10 per cent).