The ‘best’ and the ‘worst’ passports in the world

By Eudore R. Chand

UAE climbs to 32nd place

DUBAI 22 January 2018: Let’s find out how strong is your passport, according to the recently published 2018 Henley Passport Index.

For example, the UAE has climbed to 32nd place offering holders visa-free travel to 134 countries, up from 121 countries in 2017. The UAE passport has risen by six places year-on-year and by 29 places over the past decade — the biggest historical climb of any passport in the world.

But which passport was ranked on the top. No, it was not USA or UK… it was Germany, followed in second place by Switzerland and Singapore.

best-worst pps

At the other end, the worst 5 passports in the world had two countries from the Subcontinent and three from the Arab World – namely Afghanistan in last place followed by Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Somalia.

Following is the ranking of dominant Asian expatriate passports:

Country                                                    Rank

  • The Philippines                                       72
  • China                                                         75
  • India                                                          86
  • Sri Lanka                                                  93
  • Bangladesh, Iran & Lebanon               96
  • Nepal                                                         98
  • Pakistan                                                    101

The GCC passports were ranked as follows:

UAE                                                                     32

Kuwait                                                                58

Bahrain                                                               63

Oman                                                                   65

Saudi Arabia                                                      67

Egypt                                                                   87

Performance of countries in the Mena remains highly varied. The UAE’s success is linked to the fact that, between 1999 and 2018, visa restrictions on Emirati citizens have been lifted by countries such as New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Ukraine, and now China, as well as by those in Europe’s Schengen Area.

Within the wider GCC, all member countries improved their positions in 2018. Kuwait moved up to 58th position, with visa-free access to 83 countries, and Bahrain climbed to 63rd place, offering its citizens access to 75 countries. Oman (65th) and Saudi Arabia (67th) followed closely behind, with visa-free access to 71 and 69 countries, respectively.

Marco Gantenbein
Marco Gantenbein

Marco Gantenbein, Managing Partner of Henley & Partners Dubai and Head of Middle East, says, “The UAE’s continued efforts to nurture its cooperation and engagement with its international counterparts, particularly with strong emerging markets such as China, will positively impact the nation’s economic development as well as ensure sustained growth in the region.”

With the exception of GCC countries, countries in the region have mostly lost ground on the index over time. The Palestinian Territory, meanwhile, has remained stable, ranking 97th since 2008. The UAE’s exceptional performance has been instrumental in improving the Mena’s overall standing on the index.

Latest global passport rankings
Latest global passport rankings

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