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Friday, May 14, 2021

Qatar passport holders now able to access 79 countries

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s influence in the world appears to have improved in the past year, as holders of Qatari passports can now access 79 countries without having to first apply for a visa.

That’s up from 74 countries in 2015, according to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2016, which assesses the power of passports across the world.

Among the countries Qataris can now travel to without visa concerns is Turkey, after the Emir and the Turkish president signed a reciprocal travel agreement in December.

In the latest edition of the survey, the power of a total of 199 passports was assessed for 219 destinations.

At the top of the table was Germany. A passport from there enables its holders to visit 177 countries without needing to apply for a visa in advance.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

This is in sharp contrast to Afghanistan. Passport holders from there were only allowed to visit 25 states without facing additional visa requirements.

Sweden came in second, with access to 176 countries, while Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the UK which jointly ranked third for being allowed to visit 175 countries, visa-free.

Elsewhere in the GCC

Qatar was ranked 60th place alongside the Marshall Islands and Kiribati in this year’s index. This was better than most Gulf countries except for the UAE, which was ranked 38th because passport holders get access to 122 states.

This followed a reciprocal, short-stay visa waiver agreement signed between the UAE government and the European Union in May last year.

It enables UAE citizens to travel without a visa to the 26 EU countries that make up the Schengen area for stays of up to 90 days, as well as visa-free access to eight non-Schengen states.

The UAE is the first Arab state to get visa-free access to the Schengen zone. Other countries in the GCC were ranked as follows:

  • Kuwait: 57th place (82 countries);
  • Bahrain: 65th place (73 countries);
  • Oman: 67th place (71 countries); and
  • Saudi Arabia: 69th place (69 countries).

The table was compiled using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and related to visa regulations that were effective as of Jan. 1 this year, including any temporary visa regulations applicable on that date, the index authors said.

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