SINGAPORE: The United Arab Emirates passport has beaten Singapore's as the world’s most powerful passport in the 2018 Passport Index.
The Passport Index, by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital, ranks the world’s passports by the cross-border access they bring. It assigns a score to each nation's passport according to the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival.
According to the 2018 index, the Emirati passport has a score of 167, with its citizens able to visit 113 countries without a visa, in addition to having a visa issued on arrival in 54 other countries.
In second place, Singapore’s passport allows its holders to enter 166 countries visa-free or with a visa on arrival. The island's passport had also lost the top spot in a different ranking earlier this year.
Germany's passport, which shares Singapore’s visa-free score of 166, took the third place as its holders have access to 126 countries without a visa, compared with Singapore’s 127.
The UAE had made a concerted effort to make its passport one of the most powerful in the world, launching the UAE Passport Force initiative.
In December 2016, the UAE passport had a visa-free score of 122, placing it in the 27th position. It then rose nine points to 132 in 2017. It took the fourth place with a score of 162 in October earlier this year before claiming the number one position just a few months later.
It is the only middle-eastern country in the top 20.
"This achievement is a true reflection of the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in a statement on Saturday.
“It also underscores what can be achieved through positive diplomacy, reflecting the UAE as a confident and engaged force at the global stage."
Meanwhile, Singapore continues to rank the highest among Asian countries. South Korea and Japan are at the 13th and 17th spot respectively. Malaysia came in 29th with a score of 161.
Afghanistan remains in the last place with a visa-free score of 29.
COUNTRIES IN THE TOP 20
- United Arab Emirates
- South Korea
- United States of America
(Source: 2018 Passport Index)