Arab countries languish at bottom of visa-free rankings

A ranking of countries shows the visa requirements on Arabs is quite high.
LOW NUMBERS: The number of countries Arabs do not need visas to enter is quite limited. (Getty Images)
By Shane McGinley
Sat 28 Aug 2010 09:22 PM

A global list of countries, ranked according to the visa restrictions imposed on their citizens, revealed that the number of countries Arabs do not need visas to enter is quite limited and the Gulf countries are generally languishing towards the bottom of the rankings.

Compiled by Henley and Partners (H&P), a global firm specializing in international immigration and citizenship law, and using data from the The Air Transport Association (IATA), the list looked the visa requirements of citizens from 194 countries.

The score assigned to each country reflected how many countries various nationalities could enter without a visa. For example, the top ranking Arab country was Kuwait wiith a score of 71, meaning Kuwaitis can enter 71 countries and territories without a visa.

The next highest ranking Arabic country was Bahrain with a score of 67, followed by Qatar (66), the UAE (64), Oman (61), Saudi Arabia (57), Egypt (43), Jordan (39), Syria (39), Yemen (38), Iran (34), Lebanon (32) and Ira (27).

Iraq was the second last country on the rankings, listed just above Afghanistan and below Sudan and Somalia.

The H&P report determined that the “global ranking reflects the international travel freedom of the citizens of the various countries as well as the international relations and status of individual countries relative to others.”

British citizens enjoyed the most travel freedom, being able to enter 166 countries without a visa. The rest of the top five was top heavy with Scandinavian countries, with Denmark (164) second, followed by Sweden (163), Finland (162) and then Luxembourg (162).

The list has been published since 2006 and a comparison with the 2008 shows that the number of countries Arab countries can enter visa-free has increased over the last two years by an average of around 25 percent.

HENLEY & PARTNERS VISA RESTRICTIONS INDEX: Top Arab Countries on the list:

       Country          Score '10   Score '09

 1     Kuwait            71            56
 2     Bahrain           67            53
 3     Qatar              66            53
 4     UAE                 64            52
 5     Oman              61            49
 6     Saudi Arabia    57            42
 7     Egypt              43            34
 8     Jordan             39            30
 9     Syria               39            30
10   Yemen              38            30
11   Iran                  34            25
12   Lebanon           32             27
13   Iraq                  27            23

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.