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This Middle East passport gets you into the most countries without a visa

New online index ranks the UAE passport as the most valuable in the world, ahead of Singapore and Germany
With a UAE passport, you can enter 167 countries without obtaining a visa before arrival (Wikicommons)

The UAE’s passport has been ranked as the most powerful in the world according to an online index that measures passports on their ability to provide visa-free travel.

UAE passport holders can enter 167 countries without obtaining a visa prior to arrival, according to Passport Index, a list created by a Montreal-based financial advisory firm Arton Capital.

The UAE topped the list, released on 1 December, ahead of Singapore and Germany. Both countries allow entry without prior visas to 166 countries, according to the index.

The list ranks passports in real time based on the number of countries passport holders can enter without obtaining a prior visa or through obtaining a visa on arrival.

It includes the 193 member states of the United Nations, as well as six other territories.

According to its website, Arton Capital is a financial advisory firm that “empowers high net worth individuals and families to become global citizens by investing in a second residence or citizenship".

Social media users were quick to point out some of the index’s ironies:

The announcement will be welcome news for the UAE, coming less than a week after the Gulf state released British PhD student Matthew Hedges who had been sentenced to life in prison for allegedly spying for the British government.

The case fuelled a maelstrom of negative PR for the Emirate with Western academics questioning whether it still makes sense for students to work and study in the country and mainstream media asking "Is it safe to travel to Dubai?"

After the UAE, Germany and Singapore, most of the third-ranking nations - each with visa-free travel to 165 countries - were in Europe, alongside South Korea and the United States.

Yemen, Iraq and Syria all featured in the bottom ten of the 199 countries and territories on the list.

Iraq, which was second from bottom, provides passport holders with visa-free travel to only seven out of the 199 countries and territories included. Syrian passports, which are fourth to last, guarantees visa-free travel to only 9 countries.

Both Iraq and Syria have a large numbers of refugee citizens abroad who have fled conflict in their country.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.