Muscat: Oman’s current passport ranking is a sign of the country’s stability, and is a positive sign for the Sultanate.
Oman’s passport rose three places to occupy 64th place in the 2020 Henley Passport Index, which ranks passports of the world in terms of the number of countries that can be travelled to without a prior visa, by holders of a particular country’s passport.
According to the Henley Passport Index, which ranks passports globally, based on how many countries holders of these passports can access without the need to book a visa in advance, during the first quarter of 2019, Oman’s passport was ranked 64th globally, which means Omani passport holders have either visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 79 countries around the world.
Commenting on this, Paddy Blewer, the group PR director for Henley and Partners, said, “In the last 12 months, Oman has climbed three places on the Henley Passport Index and gained access to three additional destinations. Oman now sits in 64th place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 79. Our historic data indicates that in comparison to January 2019, Oman lost access to Albania, Benin and Djibouti, but gained access to Barbados, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom
“This is what has given Oman a net gain of three more countries that its citizens can access visa-free or withs visa-on-arrival,” he added. “Oman’s rise up the ranking is a very good diagnostic sign for the country, as visa openness is positively correlated with various other social and political metrics that describe the existential health of a nation.”
Across the GCC, it is the United Arab Emirates that has the most powerful passport, which has climbed a remarkable 47 places over the past 10 years and now sits in 18th place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 171. A number of other Middle Eastern countries have made strong gains as part of overall efforts to boost trade and tourism.
Saudi Arabia climbed four places, while Oman climbed three. Saudi Arabia is now in 66th place, with citizens able to access 77 destinations around the world without a prior visa. Since last year, Qatar has dropped one place, moving from 57th place last year to 58th place currently. Kuwait now sits at 57th place and Bahrain retains its score of 63 since last year, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 82 destinations.
“India has made a net loss of three destinations, dropping it down from 79th place to 84th,” added Blewer, commenting on the performances of passports of the countries from which many of Oman’s expat communities came. “Pakistan has made a net loss of one destination, dropping it down from 102nd place to 104th.
“Bangladesh has changed somewhat the destinations to which it has visa-free/visa-on-arrival access but remained net neutral when it comes to the number of destinations it can access,” he said. “Nonetheless, due to movements elsewhere on the index, it has still dropped down one place, from 97th to 98th Sri Lanka has made a net loss of one destination, dropping it down from 95th to 97th, and the Philippines has made a net gain of one destination but, nevertheless, also dropped down the ranking by two places from 74th to 76th.”
Globally, Japanese citizens have the most powerful passports (191 countries), followed by Singapore (190), Germany, South Korea (both 189) and Finland (188). UK and US passport holders can travel to 184 countries without a prior visa booking, while citizens of Australia, Canada and New Zealand enjoy visa-free and/or visa-on-arrival travel to 183 nations.