UAE passport regains its top place globally with visa waiver for 26 Schengen countries
The UAE Digital Government stated that the Emirati passport held the 1st position globally as of July 2023. A holder of the UAE’s passport could travel to 180 countries; 127 destinations offered visa-free travel and 53 offered eVisa or visa on arrival at the airport, according to Arton Capital’s Passport Index.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) recently launched the UAE Passport Force initiative, with the view to place the State’s passport on the list of the five most important passports in the world by 2021 upon the directives of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
UAE 2021 Vision aimed to make the country one of the best countries in the world by the golden jubilee of the Union. It had stimulated the ministry to strengthen the State’s position in the international arena, and hence, launched the UAE Passport Force initiative to enable citizens to enter all countries in the world without the need for pre-entry visa requirements. The ranking was mainly boosted from its Schengen visa waiver obtained in 2015. The UAE is the first Arab nation whose citizens enjoy a visa waiver to the 26 Schengen countries, which make up most of Europe.
The Ministry of Interior has recently started issuing machine-readable or ePassports for citizens in accordance with the technical and security requirements issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The ePassport has a microchip in the last page that contains encrypted biometric data to prevent forgery. The photograph, signature and fingerprints are printed and cannot be modified.
The first page contains a watercolour outline of the outer frame of Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the last page contains a drawing of the actual mosque with domes and columns.
All UAE nationals hold the UAE passport, which reflects the spirit of the union of the seven emirates. This is as per Federal Law No. 17 of 1972 Concerning Nationality and Passports.
The UAE’s passport has undergone many changes since its first launch. Al Dana Museum at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai is one such house of history. It has a good collection of important documents, which young Emiratis must see to understand their country’s past.
UAE nationals can apply for a new passport, renew or obtain a replacement for damaged or lost ones through several channels, namely General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs/Citizenship Departments (GDRFA), Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs and Port Security website by accessing issue a passport eService.