According to the latest Henley Passport Index, the UAE continues to hold the strongest passport in the MENA region, and is among the most powerful in the world.
Ranked in the fifteenth position globally on the index for the third quarter of the year, the UAE passport guarantees holders to visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 170 destinations worldwide.
As per the Henley Passport Index, Japan claimed the first spot, with a passport that allows holders to travel to 193 international destinations without the need for obtaining a visa. Singapore and South Korea shared the second position, followed by Germany and Spain in third place. Finland, Luxembourg and Italy bagged the fourth spot, followed by Austria, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands in fifth position on the index.
The Henley Passport Index rankings are based on official data obtained from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Global Mobility according to research by Henley
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, global mobility was restricted with many countries closing their borders and limiting the entry of foreign visitors.
Alongside the easing of restrictions imposed during the pandemic, research gathered by Henley shows that the top-ranking passports in the world have resumed access to pre-pandemic levels.
As an example, holders of UK and US passports now have unrestricted access to 158 countries around the world, compared to just 74 and 56 destinations respectively during the peak of the pandemic in 2020.
Japanese passport holders, restricted to access only 76 countries in 2020, can now avail unrestricted access to 161 destinations across the world.
Passports ranked lower on the index are also showing signs of recovery.
Indian passport holders enjoy unrestricted access to 57 destinations around the world, similar to levels prior to the pandemic, compared to just 23 destinations in 2020.
Holders of South African passports can now avail of unrestricted access to 95 destinations, close to a pre-pandemic level of 105 destinations.
Demand for travel has increased exponentially as Covid restrictions have eased around the world.
Chris Dix of visa processing agency VFS Global, stated that visa application volumes in the first quarter of this year jumped by over 100 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2021.
He also said that the combination of re-opening international borders, easing of travel restrictions, and resumption of international flights has caused the travel industry to witness peak levels of travel. He added that in India, visa applications average more than 20,000 per day prior to the holiday season of July – August. Dix said that these numbers include travellers visiting the UK, Europe and Canada, in addition to other popular travel destinations.
World’s top 20 passports ranked by the Henley Passport Index (Q3 2022)
- Singapore, South Korea
- Germany, Spain
- Finland, Italy, Luxembourg
- Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden
- France, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom
- Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United States
- Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta
10. Lithuania Poland, Slovakia
- Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia
- UAE, Cyprus
- Chile, Monaco, Romania
- Bulgaria, Croatia
- Hong Kong
- Argentina, Brazil
- San Marino