The UAE has been named the best passport of the decade, beating top ranking countries such as Germany, Finland, Luxembourg and Spain. according to the latest report by the Global Passport Index.
The Gulf nation gained visa waivers to 111 countries, with the majority of those waivers granted in the past three years. Having witnessed a 161% increase in passport power in just a few years, it has been dubbed "The Unicorn" in the report. It is the only Arab country to make it to the Top 10.
"Since the inception of the Passport Force Initiative in 2017, the Passport Index closely followed and documented the progress of the UAE passport. As their goal to rise within the Top 5 was achieved three years ahead of time, their momentum and mission grew stronger as they strived to reach first place before the end of 2018," the report stated.
Getting first place was hard, but keeping it was going to be harder"
.@PassportIndex:At the top of the rank as the world's Greatest Passport of the Decade is #UAE,gaining a total of +110 visa waivers, most of which have taken place in the last 3 years with161% increase in passport power&shining in 1st place with a record-breaking179 Mobility Score pic.twitter.com/rxtvRPPWf9— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) December 30, 2019
Two years ago, the UAE set a goal to be within the top five most powerful passports in the world by 2021.
Behind it are Germany, Finland, Luxembourg and Spain on 172 countries and Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, japan, South Korea, Ireland and the USA on 171 countries.
"Getting first place was hard, but keeping it was going to be harder," Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital, the company which manages the Passport Index rankings told local media. "Not only did the UAE passport remain at the very top, but they even managed to significantly increase their lead," he added.
Qatar also gained 12 visa waivers throughout 2019, making its way up the ranks with Rwanda closely behind with 11. Ukraine, Macao, and Indonesia all added 10 countries to their passport power, and Brunei ended the year with nine visa waivers.
Another country amongst the list of The Fastest-Growing Passports of 2019 was Saudi Arabia, which appeared with nine visa waivers, suggesting that the leading passport may have inspired some successors.
Cyprus and St. Kitts and Nevis are amongst the ones who made the biggest leap forward, gaining nine visa waivers in 2019.
The five worst passports on this year list were Afghanistan (35 countries), Iraq (37), Syria (40) and Somalia (41).
The index looks at the passports of 198 destinations around the world. As of 2019, the UAE passport permits visa-free and visa-on-arrival entries to 118 and 61 countries, respectively. That leaves only 19 countries requiring visa approvals prior to travel.