A hassle-free travel to a foreign destination could be one to check off from your bucket list, if any. And what’s the most important thing to have while you plan that tour — your passport.

According to the Passport Index, released by Arton Capital, the passport of the United Arab Emirates is the most powerful one, that allows its holders entry into as many as 180 countries without a visa. Of the 199 passports taken into account, the Indian passport is ranked 69 — interestingly, Indians do not need a visa to travel to 69 countries. Some of these include Bhutan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives and Vietnam. While 21 of these countries provide visa-free entry, the remaining give Indian travellers a visa on arrival.

Sharing the same rank as India in 2022 are countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Sao Tome and Prinicipe, Ghana, Tanzania and Gambia. On the other side of the spectrum is Afghanistan— its citizens can enter only 38 countries without a visa. S

The rank of the passport is also determined based on foreign relations and the country’s economic status. Some passports are more powerful than the others based on a few factors — political relations, reciprocity and the strength of the legal system that controls illegal immigration. Additionally, some countries provide immigration pre-clearance for passengers bound for another country at the source location.

Over the years

In 2018, Indians could enter 65 countries without a visa. In 2019, even though that number rose to 71, the passport’s rank, too, fell below 70. In 2020, when most countries had imposed stringent travel restrictions, Indians could travel to 52 countries without a visa, but the passport’s rank had risen to 61.

Things got a tad better in 2021. Restrictions eased and Indian passport holders could travel to 59 countries without a visa. However, it ranked 73 globally. In 2022, however, both the rank as well as the number of countries where Indians don’t require a visa to go to, improved.

Global scene

Between 2018 and 2022, the UAE has topped the list of strong passports four times, with the exception being in 2020 when Germany took the top spot. The European country now holds the second rank, along with Sweden, Finland, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland and South Korea. People who hold the passports of any of these countries can access as many as 173 countries without a visa.

The third position is held by nine countries — the US, the UK, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Poland, Ireland and New Zealand. The holders of these passports can go to 172 countries without a visa. The passports of countries that hold the bottom ranks besides Afghanistan belong to Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Somalia, which hold the 93rd, 92nd, 91st and 90th ranks, respectively.