A survey of global mobility for the fourth quarter of 2021 shows investors rate EU citizenship the highest, which is why Malta and Cyprus rank as the top passports among countries with investment immigration programs.
It also showed the UAE’s innovative strategy to boost visa-free or visa-on-arrival access worked spectacularly.
Meanwhile, global mobility, which crashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has returned to 2017 levels, which means 2022 is set to be a much better year for international travellers, especially those holding powerful passports.
Powerful Citizenship by Investment Passports
Despite the revamp that introduced a three-year period of residence in the country to qualify for the passport, Malta continues to remain the most powerful passport among all countries with investment immigration programs.
Next are Cyprus and Bulgaria, although the former is likely to fall considering its citizenship by investment program is no longer active. Yet, Cyprus continues to have a golden visa program, which means its passport is unlikely to be hit hard by the end of its citizenship by investment program.
Outside the EU, St. Kitts and Nevis continue to remain the most powerful CIP passport followed by Antigua & Barbuda.
The rankings clearly indicate that visa-free access to the EU is an advantage that makes all the difference to a passport’s ranking. Until the Caribbean nations manage to expand the list of countries offering visa-free or visa-on-arrival facilities, they are unlikely to see any significant spurt in rankings.
The UAE sprung a surprise and ended as the most powerful passport in the world among the 199 passports tracked by the Index.
This surge in ranking can be attributed to two reasons. One, the UAE’s aggressive golden visa push. Two, its innovative strategy, that involved subsidizing the cost of country pavilions at its Expo 2020 Dubai for low-income countries in exchange for visa-free agreements.
Since visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel is a very important metric impacting the power and ranking of a passport, the UAE’s passport ended up as the top-ranked document for the fourth quarter of 2021 by virtue of this shrewd strategy.
Top Rankings: Golden Visa Programs Matter
After UAE in the top spot, there are 24 countries in the top-five rankings. Italy is ranked second, New Zealand third, Portugal, Spain, and Australia ranked fourth, and the US and Malta at the fifth position. Canada’s passport was in the group ranked seventh.
Each of these countries has an investment immigration program that offers fast-track permanent residence through investment. The popularity of a golden visa program often depends on visa-free access offered by the passport. And this metric is impacted by the general demand for the passport among global citizens.
This means a country that gets its strategy right, like the UAE, can quickly surge to the top where the golden visa program boosts demand for the passport and the passport’s popularity leads to more visa-free agreements, and visa-free access further boosts demand among golden visa applicants.General Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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