In yet another example of close relations between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the latter has allowed Indians with a valid American visa or Green Card to get on-arrival visa in the UAE. The on-arrival visas will be valid for 14 days, after which a chargeable one-time extension is permissible. The decision was taken in the UAE cabinet recently.
The official statement stated, “Citizens of the Republic of India who are holders of normal passports with a six-month, or more, valid green card or visa issued by the United States of America shall be granted entry visas to the UAE from all ports for a period of 14 days, subject for a single renewal for the same period upon payment of applicable fees.”
There is growing bonhomie between India and UAE, particularly in the last few years, as Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi visited UAE in 2015, which marked the first visit to the Emirates by an Indian Prime Minister in the past 34 years. Reciprocally, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, visited India to strengthen ties between the two countries.
UAE is one of the most attractive destinations for Indians. Dubai’s tourism agency welcomed about 1.6 million Indians last year – making the country the emirate’s largest source market for the first time. This represented an increase of 26 per cent year-on-year.
Even for Abu Dhabi, India emerged as the largest overseas market for tourism last year, with visitor numbers reaching 323,300 which was a hike of about 15 per cent year-on-year.
The new rules are expected to boost Indian tourist numbers, with Dubai noting a significant increase in Chinese and Russian arrivals in the first two months of the year after passport holders from both countries were granted visa on arrival entry.
There are about 143 flights operating between India and UAE in a day and nearly 1,000 a week.