Gulf state overtakes Germany and Singapore to claim first place ( )
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has overtaken Singapore and Germany as the country with the world’s most powerful passport.
According to Passport Index, UAE passport holders are now able to gain entry to 167 countries without obtaining a prior visa – 113 countries visa-free, and another 54 using visas on arrival.
The oil rich state jumped from third place last month into first after four more countries were added to its list of visa-free destinations on 1 December, Gulf News reported.
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“Congratulations to the UAE and its people and big thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s teams,” Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, wrote on Twitter.
Singaporean and German passports both allow entry without prior visas to 166 countries, according to the online index, while a host of western European nations, the US and South Korea come next with access to 165.
The UK sits in 21st place, with visa-free access to 119 countries and another 45 with a visa on arrival, while Afghanistan finished bottom of the global ladder with just 29 countries granting Afghans entry without obtaining a prior visa.
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Passport Index ranks in real-time the passports of the United Nations’ 193 member countries and six additional territories. Data is taken from publicly available sources and official information provided by government agencies.
The UAE’s new ranking will be considered a PR coup by the country’s ruling family, coming just days after it decided to release a British academic jailed on spurious charges of spying.
Matthew Hedges arrived back in the UK earlier this week after receiving a presidential pardon following his arrest at Dubai’s airport more than six months ago.
The Durham university student’s plight sparked headlines around the globe, and cast light on the country’s lack of judicial transparency.
10 most powerful passports:
United Arab Emirates