The UAE passport has long been considered one of the most powerful in the world, granting its holders visa-free access to over 140 destinations.
In March, the Emirati passport was ranked the most powerful passport in the Arab world, according to a 2018 report released by Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and residence advisory firm.
“The ministry is tirelessly working to make the Emirati passport one of the top five in the world in line with the UAE Vision 2021,” said Ambassador Ahmad Elham Al Dhaheri, the Assistant Under Secretary for Consular Affairs at MoFAIC, according to Gulf News.
Since the beginning of the year, the Gulf nation has announced several new countries that have waived the visa application process for Emirati passport holders.
Here’s a glimpse:
1. Guinea (Africa)
On April 19, the UAE announced yet another visa-free destination for Emirati citizens: Guinea.
UAE nationals traveling to the Republic of Guinea will no longer need pre-planned visa arrangements. Instead, they’d be granted visa upon arrival to the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement.
“Emiratis carrying ordinary passports and traveling to Guinea-Conakry can now get their visa upon arrival at the airport without any prior-visa requirements,” said Ambassador Ahmad Elham Al Dhaher, according to The National.
The decision came under a visa waiver Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the governments of both countries in March, following a joint committee meeting in Abu Dhabi.
2. Paraguay (South America)
In April, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced that Emiratis can obtain visas-on-arrival when traveling to Paraguay.
Al-Dhaheri said the Ministry “received a diplomatic note from the Embassy of the Republic of Paraguay,” with the decision, according to Khaleej Times.
The visa will allow visiting tourists to stay in the country for a period not exceeding 30 days. The visa fee is $100 (367 dirhams).
3. Uruguay (South America)
In April, the UAE and the Eastern Uruguayan Republic signed a MoU, granting Emirati nationals visa-free access to the country.
Travelers between both nations will easily be granted a visa upon arrival, which lasts for a period of 90 days.
4. Ireland (Europe)
In January, Emiratis were granted visa-free access to Ireland.
A decision that was described by Charlie Flanagan, Ireland’s minister for justice and equality, as a “significant step in boosting ties between the two countries”, according to The National.
“I am very pleased we have been able to lift the visa requirement for citizens of the UAE who wish to travel to Ireland and we look forward to welcoming increased numbers of Emirati business people, students, and tourists who will travel to Ireland following the lifting of the visa requirement,” Flanagan said.
5. China (Asia)
In December, it was announced that Emiratis will be granted visa-free access to China effective January 16, 2018.
The decision came following an agreement signed between the two nations, giving travelers a maximum of 30 days in the country upon arrival.
“The move by the Chinese government reflects the stature attained by the UAE and contributes to strengthening bilateral relations and opening new avenues for growing tourism and trade between the two friendly countries,” said Al Dhaheri, according to The National.
6. Rwanda (Africa)
At the end of December 2017, the UAE announced that its nationals will have visa-free access to Rwanda.
The decision was made following a MoU signed between ministers from both countries.
7. Ukraine (Europe)
In December 2017, Emiratis were granted visa-free access to Ukraine, a decision that became effective December 31.
This came following the signing of a MoU in November between the two nations. The visas will be issued on arrival and allow regular passport holders to stay in the respective country for a period of up to 30 days.