UAE Passport: Why It Ranks #1 In 2023


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UAE Passport 2023

The 2022 Global Passport Index ranks the United Arab Emirates as the world’s most powerful passport. 

While a UAE passport is notoriously difficult to get your hands on, such a ranking is symbolic of the significant growth the nation has experienced over recent decades. The ranking of a passport is often considered indicative of a wide range of factors including ease of access to foreign nations, diplomacy, economics, politics and more. 

With the UAE ranking number 1, we will explain: why is this significant? 

Why Is UAE Passport So Powerful?

There are many factors that contribute to the power of a passport, as mentioned above. It will often be a reasonable balance of factors such as diplomatic openness, the country’s economy, geopolitical position, and other factors too.

The factors will then be used to qualitatively calculate the stature of the passport.

The UAE passport allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 174 destinations, which is the highest number of destinations for any passport. Flip this around – holders of a UAE passport only require a visa for 17 destinations across the world. No other passport is able to boast such a figure.

This high ranking is due to a combination of factors, including the UAE’s diplomatic relations with other countries, its strong economy, and its relatively stable political situation. Let’s take a look at these factors in further detail:

  • Excellent Diplomatic Relations: The UAE has established diplomatic relations with many countries around the world, which has helped to improve its position globally. But, one thing that really favours the UAE in this discussion is its position as a mediating nation. A symbol of soft power, the UAE has mediated discussions between India & Pakistan about the Kashmir region, Sudan & Ethiopia about the disputed Al Fashaga region, and has struck a more conciliatory and conversational tone with Iran, an infamous source of scepticism in the Middle East.

These efforts make it much easier for UAE passport holders to travel to countries across the world, as the passport is associated with diplomacy, mediation, and cooperation.

  • Economic strength: The UAE has one of the strongest economies in the world, growing to establish itself as a global hub for trade, tourism, and investment. This business-first approach connects the UAE to the world, and gives passport holders an incentive to travel to nations across the world – and reason for those nations to remove any barriers to trade by promoting flexible travel.

UAE passport holders can access the markets of Europe, the majority of Asia, and the majority of South America, with either a visa on arrival or no visa required at all, letting those travelling to get straight to business. 

  • Bilateral agreements: The flexibility of this travel can be attributed in some part to the bilateral agreements signed between both the UAE and other nations. Visa-free access to the Schengen area, Japan, Brazil, China and beyond comes from the UAE being open to cooperation, flexible movement, and an ‘open for business’ mantra.

These bilateral agreements can also span beyond travel, with some agreements promoting trade for example. Either way, a bilateral agreement is symbolic of an openness to cooperation. 

  • Infrastructure and technology: there are also practical elements that contribute to the position of the UAE as the world’s number one ranked passport. Take a walk through Dubai International Airport, and you’ll see why it’s a nation that’s so heavily respected from the perspective of infrastructure.

DXB is home to smart gates for all GCC citizens, allowing for a seamless immigration and border control process. This has made travel a stress-free experience for UAE passport holders, allowing them to move through airports and points of entry quickly and efficiently.

UAE Passport

Dubai’s Improving Global Position

The UAE passport being ranked as number 1 in the world shouldn’t be viewed as a random occurrence. It is representative of many factors coming together to improve the country’s position in the world, and is reflective of decades of continuous growth and openness to development both at home and abroad.