United Arab Emirates passport becomes world’s strongest

Holders of the UAE passport can travel to 167 countries without a visa or with visa on arrival

The title of the currently most powerful passport now belongs to an unexpected country. According to the Passport Index which ranks the strength of the world’s travel documents, holders of the United Arab Emirates passport now have the freest travel options.

UEA passport holders can visit 167 countries without a visa or with a visa on arrival — Shutterstock United Arab Emirates passport becomes world's strongest
UEA passport holders can visit 167 countries without a visa or with a visa on arrival — Shutterstock

Currently, UAE citizens can travel to 113 countries completely without a visa and to 54 countries where they can obtain a visa upon arrival. 31 states require the passport holders to have a visa beforehand.

The fact that UAE now has the strongest passport in the world is rather surprising. Last year the country didn’t even make it to the top 10. The Passport Index said UAE ranks the highest because it added four more countries to their visa-free list on 1 December.

Dubai leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum welcomed the news.

“Congratulations to the UAE and its people and big thanks to the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation’s teams,” he said in a tweet.

German passport is equally powerful as Singaporian — Shutterstock United Arab Emirates passport becomes world's strongest
The German passport is equally powerful as a Singaporean one — Shutterstock

Last year’s winner, Singapore, now ranks in second position alongside Germany. The citizens of the two countries have visa-free and visa on arrival access to the total of 166 countries.

With 165 visa-free countries, the third position in this year’s ranking belongs to 11 countries, including Finland, Denmark, South Korea or the US.

Passport Index is a platform developed by Canadian company Arton Capital. The index ranks travel documents based on visa requirements and distinguishes three categories for each travel document. It calculates the number of visa-free countries, states that can give visitors visa upon arrival, and countries that require visa beforehand.

10 most powerful passports in the world

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