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Emirati passport most powerful in Mena region

posted on 10/10/2015: 1362 views

The dramatic climb of Emirati passport can be attributed to a new agreement with the EU for visa-free travel to 36 countries, including the 26 Schengen area states, which was made public in May this year.

According to the report published by Khaleej Times yesterday, Emiratis have been given the freedom to travel to 37 countries visa-free over the past year, catapulting the UAE into the spotlight as the biggest climber with its dramatic addition and improvement in rank from 55 to 40, according to an annual Visa Restrictions Index report issued on Thursday.

2015 vs. 2014. UAE was the highest mover, up 15 places and adding 37 to its score. 22 countries moved up in the rankings: Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Dominica, Estonia, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Samoa, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, UAE and Vanuatu Only two countries remain in the top spot: Germany and the UK (Finland, Sweden and the US all dropped to second place), while Sierra Leona saw the biggest drop, losing 24 places. Guinea and Liberia had the next biggest loss of 21 ranks, then Syria with 16.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan all lost 15 places. The four worst passports in the world remain Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan.

The dramatic climb can be attributed to a new agreement with the EU for visa-free travel to 37 countries, including the 26 Schengen area states, which was made public in May this year. As the first Arab country to be granted a European visa waiver, Emirati citizens may travel to a total of 114 countries visa-free, making it the most powerful passport in the Mena region.

Henley & Partners published the annual Visa Restrictions Index for the last decade, and also launched the latest 2015 edition. This year's index, along with the unique cumulative data from the last 10 years, gives an unprecedented and inimitable insight into the development of visa policies over this time.

Marco Gantenbein, Managing Partner of Henley & Partners in Dubai said, "Although the world is becoming ever more globalised, there remains a huge disparity in levels of travel freedom between countries. Visa requirements define and shape individuals' ability to travel across borders. They also reflect strongly on each country's relationships with others, and will take into account diplomatic relationships between the countries, reciprocal visa arrangements, security risks, and risks of visa and immigration rules violations."

Henley & Partners will also be hosting the 9th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in the UAE, in Dubai early next month. The annual conference will cover key developments in the area of residence and citizenship planning and provide up-to-date information from industry leaders, top-tier international service providers and senior government officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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