UAE passport is most powerful in the world, according to new index

Visa-free travel, zero income tax and flourishing global reputation propel Emirates to summit of rankings

14-March-2012, Al Shamkah, Abu Dhabi

Eman, Student in Zayed University

Eman is a student in Zayed University who has just received an Emirati passport. She was waiting for years to get it because her mother was Emirati but her father wasn't. Fatima Al Marzooqi/ The National
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The UAE passport has jumped more than 30 places from last year to be ranked the most powerful in the world in an annual list compiled by offshore consulting firm Nomad Capitalist.

The Emirati passport was ranked No 35 on the 2022 index, but has jumped to number one thanks to visa-free entry to the most countries (181), no income taxes and global reputation.

Unlike the Henley Passport Index, which placed the UAE passport at 15 this year, based solely on the number of destinations holders can access without obtaining a prior visa, the Nomad Passport Index assesses five factors, each given a different score. They are: visa-free travel, taxation of citizens, global perception, willingness to grant dual citizenship and personal freedom.

"The UAE has entered the top ten for the first time this year, jumping straight to number one from 35th last year. This is largely due to recent changes allowing foreigners to apply for dual citizenship, which, combined with the travel freedoms afforded by a UAE passport, plus the country’s business-friendly environment and enviable tax system, puts the UAE top of our list for 2023," the report said.

No other Middle Eastern passports appear in the top 20, with Luxembourg and Switzerland tied in second; and Ireland and Portugal tied in fourth to round off the top five passports.

Jovana Vojinovic, Nomad Capitalist’s director of operations and sales, called the UAE passport the “winner of the decade".

"The UAE added 106 new visa-free countries in the last decade, which is an amazing number,” she told CNBC.

"Perception of it improved in the past year because of an influx of rich and famous people who moved there," she added.

Vojinovic praised the UAE's "very liberal" visa policies and its openness to foreigners and investment.

The most powerful passports in the world, according to Nomad Capitalist

1. UAE: 111 total score

2. Luxembourg: 108

2. Switzerland: 108

4. Ireland: 108

4. Portugal: 108

6. Germany: 107

6. Czech Republic: 107

8. New Zealand: 107

9. Sweden: 106

9. Finland: 106

9. The Netherlands: 106

Henley Passport Index's world's most powerful passports — in pictures

Updated: March 02, 2023, 2:27 PM