The UAE passport holder can travel to 167 countries without the need for pre-visa requirements, which is 84 per cent of the number of countries listed in the index. Image Credit: Twitter

Abu Dhabi, Dubai: The UAE passport has jumped to Number 1 as the world's most powerful passport on Saturday, December 1, 2018 — on the eve of the country's 47th National Day celebrations, according to the Dubai Media Office.

With this historic achievement, UAE passport holders are now able to gain visa-free entry to 167 countries worldwide, according to Passport Index.

The UAE passport was ranked No. 27 in December 2016. In October this year, it rapidly notched higher to No. 4.

Then it went up to No. 3 on November 8, with Emirati citizens able to fly to 163 countries without securing a visa prior to departure — just behind Singapore and Germany, whose citizens are able to travel visa-free to 165 countries.

Four more countries were added to the UAE list as of December 1, 2018.

167

visa-free entry for UAE passport worldwide, according to Passport Index.

Skipped No. 2 position

It took just three weeks before the UAE landed on top, thus skipping the No. 2 position among the world's most powerful travel documents.

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Historic

The achievement is historic for the Emirates: it coincides with the 'Year of Zayed' and country's 47th National Day, and is added to country's numerous accomplishments in various domains.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted: “On the glorious UAE National Day, our achievements are getting doubled. The Passport Index has just ranked the UAE passport as Number 1 globally, with visa-free entry to 167 countries worldwide. Congratulations to the UAE and its people and big thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s teams led by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed”.

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On the glorious UAE National Day, our achievements are getting doubled. The Passport Index has just ranked the UAE passport as Number 1 globally, with visa-free entry to 167 countries worldwide. Congratulations to the UAE and its people and big thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s teams led by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed.

- His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also tweeted, saying: “Thanks to Allah Almighty, the UAE passport has been ranked 1st globally, an achievement which reflects our right approach and future vision. A big 'thank you' goes to the working teams for their great efforts to strengthen the UAE’s status, enhance its reputation, and facilitate procedures for Emirati citizens. Congratulations to the UAE leadership and people for this worthy achievement”.

Thanks to Allah Almighty, the UAE passport has been ranked 1st globally, an achievement which reflects our right approach and future vision. A big 'thank you' goes to the working teams for their great efforts to strengthen the UAE’s status, enhance its reputation, and facilitate procedures for Emirati citizens. Congratulations to the UAE leadership and people for this worthy achievement.

- His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces

The UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has surpassed all expectations after accomplishing this achievement.

This success was achieved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) under the leadership of Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Positive diplomacy

In his remarks on the occasion, Shaikh Abdullah said: "This achievement is a true reflection of the legacy of Shaikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE. It also underscores what can be achieved through positive diplomacy, reflecting the UAE as a confident and engaged force at the global stage."

This achievement is a true reflection of the legacy of Shaikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE. It also underscores what can be achieved through positive diplomacy, reflecting the UAE as a confident and engaged force at the global stage.

- Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

The UAE passport was ranked first by Passport Index, an interactive online tool that provides users with insights on passports with the ability to compare and rank the world's passports.

The ranking is based on freedom of movement and visa-free travel to passport holders.

The UAE passport is fast becoming the most powerful in the world Image Credit: Gulf News archive

The 167 countries where Emirati passport holders can travel without the need for pre-visa requirements, represent 84 per cent of the number of countries listed in the index.

The UAE passport was on 27th position in December 2016.

This achievement mirrors the county's civilised face, respect and appreciation at the regional and international levels.

It is supported by a wise policy and leadership that has been working hard to build the country's bright image abroad to make it a hub for wisdom, moderation, coexistence and peace.

2021 target hit in 2018

In 2017, the UAE announced an ambitious goal of becoming one of the five most powerful passports in the world by 2021. Back then, the UAE passport provided Emiratis visa-free or visa-on-arrival benefits in 132 countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) launched the UAE Passport Force initiative to place the Emirati passport on the list of the five most powerful passports in the world by 2021.

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However, the country has achieved this goal three years before the dateline.

The strength of the passport does not only represent the identity of the citizen but also an important factor affecting its access to global opportunities, ease of movement and quality of life.

The Passport Index issued by the Arton Capital, ranks countries' passports based on the number of countries a passport holder can enter without obtaining a visa or obtaining it at the time of entry.

The Index is a global benchmark for classifying international passports and reflects the world’s view on the power and impact of passport.

Armand Arton, Founder and President of Arton Capital, said that Passport Index is the most prominent rating of passport strength through an interactive platform that continuously monitors changes and developments, adding that it has become the world's premier reference for governments.

Global benchmark

"We continuously compare the passports of 193 countries and 6 regions of the UN members and work to collect data directly and continuously, all through publicly available information, government sources and international bodies. We determine the strength of the passport based on the ability of the citizens of a country to travel to another country without the need for a visa in advance and obtaining visa access from the airport," said Arton.

He added, that the Emirati passport has witnessed unprecedented progress globally in the past few years, reflecting the international stature of the country. "We congratulate the UAE on this great achievement, and are pleased to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation since the launch of the UAE Passport Force initiative," he went on to say.

Through this achievement, the freedom of movement to many countries of the world is added to the list of priorities that the UAE offers to its citizens.

The positive impacts for ease of travelling are not only making it possible for UAE nationals to travel freely for tourism, but also have economic, developmental and even humanitarian benefits by facilitating trade and economic investment for individuals and institutions.

In line with a comprehensive vision of the development of the country and society, the UAE has a future agenda that embraces innovation, empowering the community and encouraging international cooperation and participation. These principles have been an integral part of the UAE since its establishment in 1971.

Meaning of ranking 

The index ranks countries around the world according to the number of destinations their citizens can travel to visa-free.

It was only last July 9 this year when the UAE entered the top 10 rankings. In September 13, it moved higher to secure the ninth position.

In 2017, the UAE announced an ambitious goal of becoming one of the five most powerful passports in the world by 2021. Back then, the UAE passport provided Emiratis visa-free or visa-on-arrival benefits in 132 countries.