ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – According to Passport Index 2018, Iraq ranks second worst in the world regarding how many countries its passport holders can travel to without prior application for a visa.
Passport Index recently released its 2018 ranking of passports around the world based on how many countries the holders of each country’s passport can travel to without prior request for a visa.
Singapore and Germany are top of the list. Its nationals can travel to 165 countries around the world with visa-free entry or receive a visa on arrival.
The two countries are followed by Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Korea, and the United States where passport holders of these countries can travel to 164 states visa-free or receive a visa on arrival.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the top climbing passport, ranking in fourth place.
“The United Arab Emirates’ positive diplomacy, focus, and determination helped boost its passport power. Newly ranked in fourth place by The Passport Index, UAE’s Visa-Free Score (VFS) jumped to a high of 162,” a Passport Index report read.
“Emiratis can visit over 80 percent of the world visa-free or with visa-on-arrival.”
The Passport Index is an interactive online tool that provides users with insights on passports with the ability to compare and rank the world’s passports. The ranking is based on freedom of movement and visa-free travel open to holders.
Afghanistan is at the bottom of the list. Its nationals can only travel to 31 countries without prior visa request. Iraq is above it with its holders only allowed visa-free entry to 34 states.
According to the 2018 Henley Passport Index, both Afghanistan and Iraq stay in the bottom of the list with visa-free access to 30 destinations.
Iraq is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world to visit, mainly due to the rise of the Islamic State (IS), which occupied vast swaths of territory in 2014.
On Oct. 14, the spokesperson of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Mahjoub, released a statement to clarify the Iraqi passport’s low rank on the international level.
“The classification of the passport in the world depends on international quality standards related to security and economic stability,” he explained.
Mahjoub noted that the ministry had signed many memorandums of understanding on diplomatic and service passports in addition to opening dialogues in the framework of facilitating visas for Iraqi tourists to several countries in the world according to specific measures.
Iraq declared victory over IS in December 2017, but the group continues to launch insurgency-style attacks, kidnappings, and ambushes in provinces like Anbar and Nineveh and the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Salahuddin.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany