The power of the UAE passport has strengthened significantly since the start of 2018, according to the latest Henley Passport Index.
The UAE signed a visa-waiver with Russia in July, which is due to come into effect in the coming months, the latest move which underscores the country’s remarkable ascent on the Henley Passport Index in recent years.
The UAE has climbed from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place worldwide currently, up 12 places on the 33rd place at the beginning of 2018.
The UAE passport now gives its holder access to 161 countries, while Japan – ranked the world’s most powerful passport – offers access to 190.
Marco Gantenbein, managing partner of Henley & Partners Dubai and head of the Middle East Operations, said: “The UAE’s latest visa-waiver agreement with Russia is a testament to its status as a growing international hub of business, trade, tourism, and culture.”
Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk, added that the initiative is aimed at “strengthening bilateral relations between the UAE and another global superpower”, following the visa-waiver signed with China earlier this year.
Globally, Japan has overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, having gained visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month.
Japan and Singapore have been neck and neck on the index since they both climbed to first place in February — following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan — and pushed Germany down to second place for the first time since 2014.
This quarter, Germany has fallen further to third, which it now shares with South Korea and France.
The US and the UK, both with 186 destinations, have also slipped one spot — from fourth to fifth place — with neither having gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018.
Iraq and Afghanistan continue to hold the bottom (106th) spot of the Henley Passport Index, with only 30 destinations accessible to their citizens.