World Openness up 14.8% as Passport Index Q4ranking sees UAE back to No.1

World Openness up 14.8% as Passport Index Q4ranking
sees UAE back to No.1

  • UAE announcing series of additional visa waiver countries plus COVID-19 restriction lifts see UAE regain top spotwith Mobility Score of 152 out of 199.
  • Q3 No.1 New Zealand drops to second; US, Canada and UK in joint fifth place
  • Brunei biggest gainer of 2021 up 94 places to 22nd in first three quarters
  • Average mobility score moves up to89– across 199 passports

Dubai, UAE, 4thOctober 2021: As the UAE opens its doors to the worldfor the start of Expo 2020, the world’s ultimate real-time tool on global mobility, the Passport Index, has revealed a 14.8 per cent increase in the World Openness Score(WOS) at the start of Q4, since the beginning of the year.

While up nine percent on the last quarter,the average global mobility score (MS), across all 199 states measured by the index, is 89; based on a total of visa-free or visa-on-arrival access provided.

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect travel and mobility andit is testament to the many countries around the world that have managed to take a lead inseeing the world opening up once more. In July 2021, Bloomberg’s Covid tracking data reported thatthe UAE was the most vaccinated country, in the world, with over 73.8 per cent of the population vaccinated.

The UAE has not one but two powerful passports – the yellow “Expo 2020 passport,” which gives you access to 191 countries – but only at Expo 2020 Dubai and over the next six months. Expo 2020, dubbed the World’s Greatest Show hosted a lavish opening ceremony on Oct 30, 2021.

Based on a mobility score that totals the number of visa-free or visa-on-arrival countries a passport currently grants the holder, the Passport Index also notes Covid-related restrictions that are changing by the day. This allows travellers and governments to have the most up to date information on global mobility – in real time.

For example, at the time of writing, the mobility score of the US is 142. This is calculated over two data points: A US passport holder has access to 97 countries visa-free, plus a further 45 with visa-on-arrival.Restrictions due to COVID-19 are also considered by the index, which is useful in terms of providing the most up to the minute information for travellers and governments,aschanges in this regard are more frequent.

Top Performers

While European passports continue to lead in the global rankings, Australia and South Korea (MS 144) both improved their mobility score going into Q4, moving into joint second place, along with Germany and Spain. The UK, Canada, the US, (MS 142/joint 5th) and Singapore (MS 141/6th) were the only other non-European passports in the Passport Index’s top 10.

Commenting on the latest rankings, Armand Arton, President of Arton Capital, the creators of the Passport Index, said: “To start Q4 with a 14.8 per cent increase in global mobility shows that the world is thankfully opening up once more, and on an encouragingly positive trajectory. We do note, however, that we are still only back to mobility levels first achieved six years ago, so the aftermath of the global shutdown is still very much in play.

“In addition to pandemic-related restrictions, geo-political events of the last three months have also seen the extra ordinary circumstances create travel, mobility and migration issues to and from Afghanistan– although the Afghan passport, prior to recent events, was already ranked lowest on the mobility score. While clearly a difficult time for many concerned, times of crisis can often put the issue of global mobility firmly into the spotlight,” Arton added.

Commenting on the increasing need and usefulness of the world’s only real-time tracker of global mobility,Hrant Boghossian, VP of Marketing for Arton Capital, the inventors of the Passport Index, said: “In addition to the passport rankings and comparisons, our proprietary World Openness Score tool offers both a real time and periodic barometer of global mobility,showing the trends and movement of countries measured over a 199-country index.

“It is particularly useful for travellers as COVID-19 restrictions remain a key influencer and disrupter in one’s ability to travel.It is also useful for governmentslooking to compare their performance and relationship to others and gather insights on the trends and geopolitical decisions that affect such rankings,”Boghossian concluded.

The Passport Index is more than just a simple ranking tool; unlike other indicators on global mobility, the Passport Index’s data can reflect the temporary and often disruptivegeo-political or pandemic-related travel restrictions – in real time. In addition, the index’s ability to offer insights across a number of socio-political influencers means that many foreign ministries around the world are already using the platform to analyse and compare their policies with others.

Regional stats: In the GCC, the UAE was the biggest climber, acrossQ3 2021, moving up four places to the number one spot.Over the last quarter, other GCC nations remain insimilarrankings: Bahrain down seven places to 52nd (MS 80), Kuwait down eight to 50th(MS 85), Oman down seven to 56 (MS 75), Qatar down seven to 47 (MS 91), and Saudi Arabia down five in 55th place (MS 76).

Europe: Outside of the EU, the biggest moves in passport rankings, since the beginning of the year, were for Ukraine, up 37 places (MS 124/19th),Moldovaup 34 places (MS 103/36th)and Albania, up 15 places to (MS 100/39th). The UK (MS 142) and Norway (MS 139) – remain injoint fifth and joint sixth place over Q3, but down one and three places, respectively, from the start of 2021. Russia is currently in 34th with an MS of 105.

Within the EU, Germany, Finland, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, and Italy were the highest rankedon mobility (MS 144), all in joint third placealongside non-EU countries like South Korea, Australia, and Switzerland. The most improved EU passport over the first three quarters wasMalta (+12 places/5th) with Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, among others,each climbing 11 places in their respective rankings, since January 2021.

The Americas: While the US and Canada (MS 142/5th) continue to climb the rankings after last year’s drop, Mexico dropped four spots to 24th over the last three months. In South America,Brazil is currently the highest rankedglobally (MS 127/16th), having climbed 5 places in the first three quarters, the highest climber on the continent was Colombia, up 18 places into 38th position.

Africa: With many COVID-19 travel restrictions still in play across the African continent, movement and mobility scores here are either stagnant or have dropped several places since the start of the year and in Q3. At the turn of Q4 2021, the only improved mobility score since the start of the year is not on the continental mainland – The Seychelles (MS 111) in 29th position – the same ranking held at the beginning of the last quarter.

Asia:Over Q3, South Korea is the highest ranked Asian country in third (MS 144), while Japan is sixth(MS 141),from joint third at the end of Q2. China, the world’s second largest economy, has dropped 11 places (63rd) with a below world average MS 65. India is up 11 places since the start of year (72nd) with an MS of 56, but one of the biggest gainers in Asia, for 2021, remains the Kingdom of Brunei, up 94 places, over the first three quarters, and 22nd ranked globally.

Top 10 passportsWOS may change on a daily basis; MS scoresout of 199 countries/territories.

* All rankings and MS scores are correct as of the time of writing (4thOctober 2021)

1st:United Arab EmiratesTotalMS 152

2nd:New ZealandTotal MS: 146

3rd:Germany, Finland, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, South Korea, AustraliaTotal MS: 144

4th:Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Rep. of IrelandTotal MS: 143

5th:France, Malta, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Hungary, UK, Canada, USA.Total MS: 142

6th:Singapore, Norway, Slovenia, Slovakia, Japan.Total MS: 141

7th: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Iceland.Total MS: 140

8th: Liechtenstein Total MS: 139

9th: Croatia. Total MS137

10th:Romania, Bulgaria, Monaco.Total MS: 136

10 weakest passports

* All rankings and MS scores are correct as of the time of writing (4thOctober 2021)

83rd: South Sudan, Libya, Sudan. Total MS 45

84th: Ethiopia, North Korea. Total MS: 44

85th:Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal.Total MS: 43

86th:Iran, Eritrea. Total MS: 42

87th:Palestinian Territories, Myanmar (Burma).Total MS: 41

88th: Yemen.Total MS: 38

89th: Somalia, Pakistan.Total MS: 37

90th: Syria.Total MS: 34

91st:Iraq.Total MS: 33

92nd: Afghanistan.Total MS: 32


Notes to Editor

The Passport Index

The Passport Index is the ultimate, interactive passport ranking tool in the world.

Invented and empowered by Arton Capital, it is the only real-time global ranking of the world’s passports, updated as frequently as new visa waivers and changes are implemented.

Since its inception, Passport Index has become the leading global mobility intelligence platform, celebrated across the world.

Visitors can dive into the fascinating world of passports, explore their designs, sort them by country, region and even by colour. Users of the website or app can now compare passports side by side and even explore how they can improve their Personal Mobility Score by adding additional passports – for example, as dual nationals.

More recently, Passport Index has launched a mobile application available on iOS, bringing the world of passports to your fingertips.

The Passport Index also features PASSE/PORT, the comprehensive blog curating passport-related news, and views on global mobility, security, technology, branding, and visa policies from around the world.

The Passport Index’s World Openness Scoretool operates in both real-time as well as offering periodic snapshots of information – from 2015 to real time changes being made every day.

Ranking Methodology

The Passport Index methodology is based on the following:

  • Passports of 193 United Nations member countries and 6 territories (ROC Taiwan, Macao (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican) for a total of 199 are considered.
  • Territories annexed to other countries such as Norfolk Island (Australia), French Polynesia (France), British Virgin Islands (Britain), etc. who do not issue their own passports are excluded and not considered as destinations.
  • Countries which issue passports, regardless if they enforce independent visa policies or not are considered as destinations.
  • Data is based on official information provided by governments, updated in real-time with intelligence obtained through crowdsourcing and enhanced with proprietary research from highly credible sources.
  • Significant number of passport images are provided by proud citizens of their countries. While some chose to remain anonymous, most have been credited for their contribution.
  • To determine the individual rank of each passport, a three-tier method is applied:
    1. Mobility Score (MS) – includes visa-free (VF), visa on arrival (VOA), eTA and eVisa (if issued within 3 days)
    2. VF portion of their score vs VOA
    3. United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 2018 (UNDP HDI) is used as a tie breaker. The UNDP HDI is a significant measure on the country’s perception abroad.


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