And The Winner Is…

What makes a powerful passport? It’s not the gold embossing, intricate stitching or even the 1000’s of security devices secretly featured in almost every one. Quite simply, t’s the number of countries you can visit without requiring a visa. The list of suitors is highly contentious, with new relationships opening up every year, in hopes of bolstering rank. For the first time in many years, the world’s most powerful passport is not from Singapore, or anywhere in Europe, but rather somewhere just South, with lovely beaches…

UAE passportCitizens of the United Arab Emirates may now travel to 167 countries without obtaining a visa in advance. This instantly makes the UAE Passport the world’s most powerful, toppling Singapore form the crown by just one spot. Singapore and Germany each offer 167 visa free countries, while the United States, South Korea and much of Europe sits in third with 165 visa free options. Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada tie many other Eurozone nations for fourth, with 164.

The 2018 most powerful passport list has become a skillful battle of diplomacy.ย Qualification is based on how many countries a bearer may visit without a visa in advance of travel.ย The United Arab Emirates now offers visa free access to 113 countries and visa on arrival for 54. To put the chess game into perspective, Singapore still leads the list of countries where no visa is required, with 127. Many other nations are deadlocked at 126, and while the UAE is 13 spots behind in this regard, it’s boost in visa on arrival options gives it “the crown” for 2018.

nternational travel visa passport stamps vector set. paris and toronto, hong kong and port of amsterdam illustration

Where there are winners, there are also those outside the podium. Afghanistan offers the world’s least powerful passport, with 29 visa free countries. Iraq places second with 32, Pakistan third with 35 and Syria in fourth with 36. The impressive list, run by the Passport Index changes in real time, so don’t be surprised to see Singapore put up a fight before the year ends. By the way, did you know the Queen of England does not require a passport to travel?