New index ranks countries with the best passports for ease of travel
The UAE has significantly risen in an index of countries with the best passports for ease of travel.
The Gulf state has climbed eight positions in the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, which lists countries according to how many other nations its citizens can enter without a visa.
The UAE is now ranked 56th with passport holders able to freely enter 72 countries.
It is below Kuwait, which is the highest Gulf state on the index, with 77 visa-free countries.
Qatar is ranked 57th with entry to 71 countries, followed by Bahrain at 59th (69 visa-free countries), Saudi Arabia at 64 (64 visa-free countries) and Oman in 65th (63 visa-free countries).
The Gulf states are among the highest ranking in the Arab world.
The majority of Muslim countries do not have easy access to other nations.
Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Palestine, Eritrea, Nepal, Sudan, Sri lanka and Lebanon make up the bottom 10, with between only 28 and 38 countries their citizens can travel to without a visa.
Syria is 12th worst and Libya is 14th worst in the index.
Finland, Sweden and the UK top the list, with visa-free access to 173 states. The US is in second place, alongside Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg.
“In today’s globalised world, visa restrictions are an important tool for governments to control the movement of foreign nationals across borders,” a statement by Henley Partners says.
“Visas are a standard requirement for most countries as certain non-nationals wish to enter their territory. At the same time, visa requirements or the lack thereof, are also an indication of the relationship between individual nations and the status of a country within the international community of nations.”