UAE's score of 152 is far ahead of the global average of 89 on the latest Passport Index Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE passport has surged ahead to regain its top spot in the latest ‘Passport Index’ of 199 countries released on Monday.

Based on a mobility score (MS) that totals the number of visa-free or visa-on-arrival countries a passport currently grants the holder, the index also notes COVID-19-related restrictions that are changing by the day.

The average global mobility score across all 199 states measured by the index is 89, based on a total of visa-free or visa-on-arrival access provided.

UAE on top

UAE topped the index with a score of 152. In the GCC, the UAE was the biggest climber in the third quarter of this year, moving up four places to the number one spot. In July, Bloomberg’s COVID-19 tracking data reported that the UAE was the most vaccinated country, which also helped it surge on the passport index.

Comparatively, Bahrain is down seven places to 52nd place (80 score), Kuwait down eight to 50th (85), Oman down seven to 56th (75), Qatar down seven to 47th (91), and Saudi Arabia down five in 55th place (76).

Best performers

New Zealand came in second with its score of 146.

Germany, Finland, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, South Korea, Australia all placed third with their score of 144.

Impact of lockdowns

Armand Arton, president of Arton Capital, creators of the Passport Index, said: “To start Quarter Four with a 14.8 per cent increase in global mobility shows that the world is thankfully opening up once more, and on an encouragingly positive trajectory. We do note, however, that we are still only back to mobility levels first achieved six years ago, so the aftermath of the global shutdown is still very much in play.”

He added: “In addition to pandemic-related restrictions, geo-political events of the last three months have also seen the extra ordinary circumstances create travel, mobility and migration issues to and from Afghanistan – although the Afghan passport, prior to recent events, was already ranked lowest on the mobility score. While clearly a difficult time for many concerned, times of crisis can often put the issue of global mobility firmly into the spotlight.”

Top 10 passports (may change on a daily basis from Mobility Score fluctuation)

1st: UAE Total MS 152

2nd: New Zealand Total MS: 146

3rd: Germany, Finland, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, South Korea, Australia Total MS: 144

4th: Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Rep. of Ireland Total MS: 143

5th: France, Malta, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Hungary, UK, Canada, USA. Total MS: 142

6th: Singapore, Norway, Slovenia, Slovakia, Japan. Total MS: 141

7th: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Iceland. Total MS: 140

8th: Liechtenstein Total MS: 139

9th: Croatia Total MS 137

10th: Romania, Bulgaria, Monaco Total MS: 136

10 weakest passports

83rd: South Sudan, Libya, Sudan. Total MS 45

84th: Ethiopia, North Korea. Total MS: 44

85th: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal. Total MS: 43

86th: Iran, Eritrea. Total MS: 42

87th: Palestinian Territories, Myanmar (Burma). Total MS: 41

88th: Yemen. Total MS: 38

89th: Somalia, Pakistan. Total MS: 37

90th: Syria. Total MS: 34

91st: Iraq. Total MS: 33

92nd: Afghanistan. Total MS: 32