This Middle Eastern Nation Now Has the World’s Most Powerful Passport

Dec 4, 2018

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In a last-minute surprise for 2018, the United Arab Emirates has snagged the title of most powerful passport in the world from usual contenders Singapore, Germany and Japan.

Since the UAE was granted visa-free access of Mexico, Liberia and Sierra Leone, its ranking on the Passport Index has taken the No. 1 spot with visa-free access to a record-breaking 167 countries — about 84% of the world. Runner-ups Singapore and Germany are tied for second place with visa-free access to 166 countries, and Japan, which was named the most powerful passport in Oct. 2018 by the Henley Passport Index, is ranked No. 4 with access to 164 nations visa-free.

Using data collected from public information, government resources and international bodies, the Passport Index determines its rankings and scores by measuring passports among the United Nations’ 193 countries and six regions. In a release, the index described the UAE’s rise to the top spot as “meteoric.” It jumped from No. 27 to No. 1 between 2016 and 2018. Originally, the UAE set its sights on reaching the top 5 most powerful passports by 2021. So, the nation exceeded its own expectations by at least three years.

“This achievement is a true reflection of the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE,” said H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation. “It also underscores what can be achieved through positive diplomacy, reflecting the UAE as a confident and engaged force at the global stage.”

Featured image by Mathias Fengler / EyeEm via Getty Images.

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