UAE passport holders can now travel to 165 destinations around the world without a prior visa.
The UAE continues its upward trajectory and is now just one spot away from entry into the index’s top 20. After the recent formalization of a mutual visa-waiver agreement signed with Colombia and Russia, UAE passport holders are now able to access 165 destinations around the world without a prior visa.
This current score marks an extraordinary ascent from the position the UAE held a decade ago, when the country shared joint 61st place with Thailand and Zimbabwe and had a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 52. Now ranked 21st, The UAE’s ascent is one of many success stories on the Henley Passport Index.
Bata Racic, Director of Henley & Partners Dubai, says, “The UAE’s meteoric rise in the Henley Passport Index is indicative of the country’s growing soft power and its viability as a global commercial, economic and travel hub. The nation has been making steady progress, strengthening its diplomatic ties with other countries across the globe. Consequently, the UAE passport continues to demonstrate its agility and raise the benchmark for other countries in the Middle East. Since 1999, visa restrictions on Emirati citizens have been lifted by over 45 different countries, and we expect the Gulf country to continue its remarkable growth trajectory over the coming months and years.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Cummings, Director of Signal Risk, says that participation in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is having an increasing impact in the Middle East. Discussing the recent ratification of the visa-waiver agreement signed between UAE and Russia, Cummings says, “While touted as being a direct outcome of strengthening trade and diplomatic relations between the UAE and Russia, the move may also be a strategic attempt by the former to replicate its success as the main trading, logistics, and financial hub in the Middle East to Asia. This comes amid the UAE’s formalization of a strategic partnership with China, which included a reciprocated visa waiver agreement and which formalized its membership to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In doing so, the UAE may benefit as being the proverbial bridge linking people, trade, and commodities between Asia and the Middle East, which will only further strengthen the power of the country’s passport.”