There is a new most powerful passport in the world

Japan and Singapore can no longer lay claim to having the most powerful passports in the world, as a surprising country has knocked them from the top of the list – the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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The famous hotel and tourist district of Madinat Jumeirah. Image by ©Seqoya/Shutterstock

The UAE has just shot to the top of The Passport Index, an interactive real-time passport ranking platform, hitting a record-breaking score. The country’s passport now has a visa-free score of 167, which, according to the ranking, gives them access to 84% of the world.

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Image by ©Marek Kijevský/Getty Images

The index is run by Arton Capital and rates passports based on the number of countries a citizen can visit without needing to get a visa or apply for one on entry. It is constantly comparing the passports of 193 countries and 6 regions of the UN members, using data collected from publicly available information, government sources and international bodies.

The UAE has had a quick rise up the list, moving from the 27th spot in December 2016 to first place globally in December 2018, according to a statement from the Emirati government. It entered the top 10 of The Passport Index only in July, when it entered into a visa agreement with Russia. Some of the most recently signed visa facilitation agreements were with Mexico, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The UAE had set a goal to get its passport to the top five in the world by 2021, but has now reached that goal far ahead of time.

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Dubai, UAE. Image by ©Mlenny Photography/Getty Images

Just back in February, South Korea moved into a shared space in the top spot on The Passport Index, alongside Singapore, with a visa-free score of 162. Previously, Germany had been in the top spot.