Muslim nations have world’s weakest passports

Eight of the weakest ten passports in the world belong to Muslim nations, according to a new passport ranking index.

The Passport Index ranked the 193 United Nations member countries based on how many nations their passports granted visa-free access to, or allowed visitors to obtain a visa on arrival.

Iraq came bottom of the list with visa-free travel to only four countries, visa on arrival in 27 others and a visa required in 167 countries.

Also in the bottom ten passports were Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Palestine and Pakistan.

The UAE was the top ranked Muslim passport in 44th place. It has visa-free travel to 55 nations.

New Zealand secured the top spot with visa-free travel to 86 countries, followed by Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

The Passport Index says that the coronavirus pandemic has had a chaotic impact on travel.

“Despite the high volatility of passport power throughout the past year, Passport Index has updated passport rankings in real time, displaying the true effect of the pandemic on passport rankings,” says its website.

“The data is clear: with temporary travel bans and visa restrictions, many countries which once held a powerful passport, are now ranking amongst the lowest in the world.

“Through another lens, Passport Index shows the clear influence of the pandemic with its World Openness Score (WOS), the benchmark of open travel between countries.

“Since its inception in 2015, the WOS has continued to increase at an average rate of 6 per cent per year, reaching an all-time world openness of 54 per cent back in December 2019.

“Once the pandemic hit — although active visa agreements were not changed, temporary entry bans and border closures resulted in a staggering decrease in the WOS, dropping 65 per cent within weeks.”

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