Gulf dailies have reported on UAE’s passport moving up in the ranks of the most powerful in the world.
Khaleej Times (KT) quoted Dr. Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, tweeting early Thursday morning, “Good morning to all my followers. The UAE passport has just been ranked as the 9th most powerful passport with visa-free entry to 157 countries worldwide.”
A bilateral visa waiver agreement between the UAE and Russia earlier in July had seen the Emirati passport become the 10th most powerful in the world, said KT.
UAE shares its 10th spot with Cyprus.
An agreement with Russia has taken UAE’s visa-free score to 155, while Russia has a visa-free score of 115, according to the Arton Capital Passport Index.
On top of the list is Singapore, with a visa-free score of 166, while Germany is placed second with a score of 164.
Gulf News said in 2017 when the UAE passport held a visa-free score of 132 countries, the country announced its ambition to make the country’s passport among the 5 most powerful passports in the world by 2021.
The Emirati passport has been ranked first in the Arab region on the Arton Capital Passport Index.
TOP 10 PASSPORTS:
1-Singapore: 166 destinations.
2-Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, South Korea, and United States: 165 destinations.
3-Italy, France Spain, Greece, Portugal, Japan, Ireland, and Canada: 164 destinations.
4-Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and United Kingdom: 163 destinations.
5-Czech Republic, Malta, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia: 162 destinations.
6-Slovenia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Slovakia: 161 destinations.
7-Estonia, Poland, and Latvia: 160 destinations.
8-Romania and Bulgaria: 158 destinations.
9-Liechtenstein and UAE: 157 destinations.
10-Cyprus and Croatia: 156 destinations.
UAE Expats looking for second passport
Well to do UAE expats target the Caribbean for a second passport, according to International Investment.
The Caribbean countries have seen a surge in demand in their citizenship-by-investment schemes as more high-net-worth expats from the UAE are seeking a second passport.
The demand for a second passport among expatriates in the UAE has increased by 67% in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to statistics gathered by Bluemina, an immigration company in the UAE.
According to the latest report released by Professional Wealth Management, Dominica, St Kitts Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Vanuatu, Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Austria have some of the most sought-after citizenship-by-investment schemes.
For example, citizenships from St Lucia and Dominica can be obtained in a few months for around $100,000 without any obligation to live there for any amount of time.
The research also showed there is also an increase in the number of families applying for second citizenships over single applicants. The main reason is that countries like St Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda are accepting a family of four members for $135,000.
“Last year, as many as 83% of high-net-worth individuals applying for a second passport in the UAE were families,” said International Investment.
The demand also increased across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) by 30% in 2017-18.
“A lot of rich Indians and Egyptians are taking up this citizenship-by-investment and giving up their first passports. Because if any tax resident rescinds local citizenship, he will be liable to file tax liabilities only on local income and not on foreign income,” Imran Farooq, CEO of AAA Associates, an advisory firm in citizenship-by-investment programmes, told local media KT.