Dubai: The UAE passport has jumped 20 spots in the last decade and has been ranked 20th among the most powerful passports for 2019.
A quarterly report issued by the Henley Passport Index, which analysed how many countries a passport holder can enter visa-free or on a visa-on-arrival basis, revealed the strongest and weakest passports for 199 passports.
The report, published in July, gave an insight into the latest shifts and changes in global passport power. As well as illustrating global and regional trends, the report used data from the index’s 14-year history to show how travel mobility has changed over the past decade, looking at which passports have gained in strength and which have fallen behind.
Japan and Singapore held onto the top spot on the passport index, with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 189.
South Korea was ranked 2nd place on the index along with Finland and Germany, with citizens of all three countries able to access 187 destinations around the world without a prior visa.
Finland’s climb from 3rd to 2nd place was attributed to the recent changes to Pakistan’s formerly highly restrictive visa policy.
“In the hope of attracting tourists and boosting its struggling economy, Pakistan now offers an ETA (electronic travel authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland, and the UAE,” according to the report.
Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg jointly ranked 3rd place on the index, each with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 186, while France, Spain, and Sweden were in joint 4th place, each with a score of 185.
While Asian countries climbed in the ranks, the UK and US dropped to 6th place with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 183. The two countries also shared sixth place with Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland and Norway.
The UAE entered the Henley Passport Index’s top 20 for the first time in the index’s 14-year history, with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 167.
“Over the past five years, the UAE has more than doubled the number of destinations its citizens are able to travel to without a prior visa,” said the report.
India was ranked at 86th place alongside Mauritania and the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe, while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan were positioned at 99, 101 and 106 respectively.
Afghanistan remained at the bottom of the global mobility spectrum, with its citizens able to access only 25 destinations worldwide without a prior visa.
1. Japan and Singapore
2. Finland, Germany and South Korea
3. Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg
4. France, Spain and Sweden
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland
6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, UK and US
8. Czech Republic
9. Australia, Iceland, Lithuania and New Zealand
10. Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia
101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon and North Korea
103. Libya, Palestine and Sudan
Source: Henley Passport Index Q3 2019