UAE Passport ranking rises to 11th place
 UAE passport ranking rises to 11th place; these countries topped the 2024 list

UAE passport ranking rises to 11th place; these countries topped the 2024 list

Staff Writer: Gulf Business

February 14, 2024

Six countries now share the top spot with visa-free access to a record-breaking number of destinations on the 2024 Henley Passport Index. The index, based on exclusive and official data from IATA, ranks all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can enter without a prior visa.

This year, France, Germany, Italy and Spain join Japan and Singapore as the world’s most powerful passports in the world. Their citizens can visit 194 destinations out of 227 around the globe visa-free.

The two Asian nations have been situated at the apex of the list for the past five years.

South Korea joins Finland and Sweden in second place with visa-free travel to 193 destinations.

Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands share third place with visa-free access to 192 countries.

The rest of the top 10 is dominated by European countries, with the UK climbing up two ranks to fourth place.

The UK’s citizens now have visa-free access to 191 destinations compared to just 188 a year ago.

Australia and New Zealand passport holders both improve their ranking to sit in sixth place with 189 visa-free destinations, while the US retains its seventh place with access to 188 destinations without requiring a visa in advance. It has been a decade since the UK and the US jointly held the first place on the index in 2014.

UAE Remains The Biggest Climber

The UAE remains the biggest climber on the Henley Passport Index over the past decade, adding an impressive 106 destinations to its visa-free score since 2014.

As a result, the UAE has seen a massive leap of 44 places in the ranking from 55th to 11th position.

The UAE now offers its citizens visa-free access to 183 countries.

Like the UAE, Ukraine and China are also among the top five countries with the most improved rankings over the past 10 years (a net total gain of 21 places each), and both have climbed a further two ranks in the past year.

Ukraine is now in 32nd place with 148 visa-free destinations and China is 62nd on the ranking with access to 85 destinations without a prior visa (compared to just 44 in 2014).

Russia has seen a net rise of 24 destinations over 10 years, its visa-free score and ranking have barely moved since 2017. It now sits in 51st place with access to 119 destinations.

Investment Migration

Henley & Partners’ research shows a strong correlation between economic performance, passport power, and countries that host investment migration programmes. For instance, nearly 60 per cent of G7 countries, which collectively account for 30 per cent of global GDP and have an average Henley Passport Power percentage score of 82 per cent, offer some form of residence or citizenship by investment programme.

Similarly, nearly all 27 EU member states (with an average HPP score of 74 per cent) provide the right to reside in return for making some form of investment, and most of the 19 sovereign states in the G20 (with an average HPP score of 54 per cent) also offer a mechanism to encourage inward investment in exchange for residence rights.

Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, says both visa-openness and investment migration are significant levers that governments can use to positively impact and improve their passport’s power, as well as their economic progress.

“What sets residence and citizenship by investment programmes apart from debt-driven financing approaches is that they enhance the sovereign equity of the host nation. They do not require compromising or sacrificing one strategic objective to achieve another. Investment migration is a genuine win–win, long-term, sustainable solution for all stakeholders, whether they are investors or nation states and their citizens,” he said.

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