The United Arab Emirates has emerged as the most powerful passport of the year, granting citizens access to 179 countries without the need for visa prior to arrival, according to The Passport Index by Arton Capital.
The UAE took pole position ahead of Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, and Spain, all who placed in second. Third place consisted of 10 countries including the US, Austria, Switzerland, and South Korea.
The figures came as The Passport Index released a report titled “The Greatest Passports of the Decade,” which looked at passports that have gained the most access over the past 10 years.
Earlier this year when the UAE reached a score of 176, Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton capital, called the move “something unprecedented.” Over the past decade, the UAE has experienced a 161 percent increase in passport power, placing it first among greatest gainers between 2010 and 2019.
Saudi Arabia was also present on the fastest growing passports of 2019 in 10th place, adding nine additional visa waivers and finishing with a power rank of 56. Passport Index added that this was likely a reflection of the country’s Vision 2030 goals, stating, “It comes as no surprise that strengthening global relations and improving passport power is an imperative tool to accomplish this national goal by 2030.”
Over the past 10 years, the Passport Index noted that the world has considerably opened up, in contrast to popular perception. “The world has never been more open than today,” remarked Arton.
According to the organization’s World Openness Score, which calculates how many countries can visit others and vice versa, openness has been growing every year since the index began.
“At an average increase of 4 percent year-over-year, it would be incredible to assume that by 2035 the entire world be open for travel,” added Arton.
The Passport Index calculated the passports of 199 countries and territories, and ranks their “Mobility Score” based on how many countries an individual holding a particular passport could enter visa-free or with a visa on arrival.
Global Passport Power Rank 2019
2. Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain
3. Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Ireland, USA
4. Sweden, France, Belgium, Malta, Greece, Norway
5. Singapore, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand